Tuberculosis: story or medical failure?
In a week when the world of medicine is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first randomised controlled trial, Chris Holme, journalist at the Herald newspaper in Glasgow, laments the irony that half a century on, the disease that this trial found the means to eradicate, is still rife.
The MRC trial, which was published in the BMJ on 30 October 1948, found Streptomycin to be an effective treatment of tuberculosis. In a stinging attack in this week's BMJ, the author writes that despite the results of this trial there has been a failure to implement treatment regimens, which has led to an international resurgence of the disease.
The author details the path of complacency that he believes has led to the
epidemic we are now witnessing in the 1990s and asks: "why after an estimated
one million controlled trials on every treatment under the sun, have we failed
to apply the results of the initial ones on tuberculosis chemotherapy?"
Chris Holme, Herald, Glasgow, Scotland
(Contact through Jill Shepherd at BMJ press office Wednesday 28 - Friday 30