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Controversy has erupted over a clinical trial of erythromycin as a contraceptive conducted in India more than a year ago. The study found that the antibiotic, placed in the wombs of 790 women, had a failure rate of up to 35 per cent after a year.

Health activists and doctors have complained about the way in which the West Bengal study, carried out by doctors from the Indian Rural Medical Association (IRMA), was conducted. Erythromycin is normally taken orally to treat respiratory conditions.

IRMA has dissociated itself from the trial, claiming the doctors who ran it did not do so on their behalf.

Link to article in the British Medical Journal

Reference: BMJ 328, 188 (2004)

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