Dutch medical study halted after 11 babies die

A large study into a new medication for pregnant women with too small fetuses was halted with immediate effect. More babies than expected were born with a lung disease. Eleven children with this condition died shortly after birth, lead researcher Wessel Ganzevoort said to RTL Nieuws.

In the study, which ran in 10 hospitals in the Netherlands, pregnant women with poorly functioning placenta were given sildenafil, better known as Viagra. A total fo 93 women were prescribed Viagra. 17 of their babies suffered from the lung disease. Eleven of them died. A control group of 90 other women were given a placebo. Of their babies, only three were found to have the same lung disease, and none of them died. 

The researchers believe that the study went well and properly, but nevertheless decided to halt it immediately while the death of the 11 babies is investigated. The Health Care Inspectorate was also informed. 15 women still took the prescribed Viagra until last week Thursday. They stopped immediately. 

The study was conducted in all seven academic hospitals in the Netherlands as well as the Isala hospital in Zwolle, the Maxima Medical Center in Veldhoven, and the Medical Center Leeuwarden.