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[Correspondence] Should hydroxyethyl starch be banned?

Roberts and colleagues’1 Correspondence in The Lancet asking WHO to support a ban on the use of hydroxyethyl starch (HES) deserves clarification. First, registration of HES is not yet suspended; a legally binding decision by the European Commission is still pending. Second, Roberts and colleagues claim that HES was used to treat postpartum haemorrhage in the WOMAN trial.2 In fact, the publication doesn’t provide any information about HES treatment or its related adverse events. Third, the authors refer to their own studies as examples of high-quality trials, but these have been publicly criticised for methodological deficiencies and severe limitations.

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