Intended for healthcare professionals


In brief

BMJ 2000; 320 doi: (Published 22 January 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:204

GlaxoWellcome and SmithKline Beecham to merge:GlaxoWellcome and SmithKline Beecham have announced that they will merge to form the world's largest drug company, worth £115bn ($184bn).

BMJ wins quality award: The Spanish society, Fundación Avedis Donabedian, has given its international award for improving quality in health care for 2000 to the BMJ Publishing Group. The case for the group being given the award can be read in full on

Israel changes rules on children with HIV: The Israeli ministries of education and health have abolished the regulation that required parents of Israeli children with HIV or AIDS to tell schools and nurseries of their condition.

Folic acid will reduce neural tube defects: In the United Kingdom the Department of Health's Committee on Medical Aspects of Food and Nutrition Policy has concluded that if flour was fortified with 240 mg of folic acid per 100 g the proportion of babies born with neural tube defects would be significantly reduced. The report, Folate and the Prevention of Disease, is available from the Stationery Office.

Consultation on Propecia launched: The Department of Health in the United Kingdom has launched a consultation on the proposal that the drug for baldness, Propecia, should not be available on the NHS. If the proposal is adopted, GPs would be able to prescribe the treatment privately for NHS patients. The drug's manufacturer, Merck, Sharp and Dohme, does not believe that any healthcare system should fund the product.

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