In brief

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: (Published 03 February 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:256

House of Lords vote to keep pill sales: An attempt by Conservative Baroness Young to halt over the counter sales of the emergency contraceptive pill was defeated in the House of Lords this week by 177 votes to 95. Pharmacists have been allowed to sell the pills without a doctor's prescription since January as part of government efforts to reduce unwanted pregnancies.

HRT protects against tooth loss: A systematic review has shown that women who have used hormone replacement therapy (HRT) retain more teeth than women who have not. The review, published in Managed Care Interface (2000;13:93-9), found that among women with a mean age of 67 denture use was 47% but that this rose to 69% in women who had not used HRT and fell to 27% in women who had.

Cyanide spill puts 100 in hospital: 21 adults and 79 children in northeastern Romania were admitted to hospital last week after eating fish from the cyanide tainted Siret River. The waterway was polluted in January when salvage workers at a chemical factory emptied a vat of chemicals into a tributary of the river. Thousands of fish were killed, some of which were apparently sold in nearby markets.

Thalidomide used to treat lung cancer: A study examining the combined use of thalidomide and conventional cancer drugs to treat small cell lung cancer is being supported by the Cancer Research Campaign. Dr Siow Ming Lee of University College and Middlesex Hospital, London, is recruiting 30 patients for the trial. Care will be taken to ensure that none of the patients can become pregnant.

UK haemophiliac patients face vCJD scare: Doctors are trying to trace NHS haemophiliac patients who may have been exposed to blood plasma from a donor who was later found to have been infected with vCJD (variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease). The Department of Health has said that no evidence exists that vCJD has ever been transmitted through blood or blood products

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