Published: 15/08/2002, Volume III, No. 5818 Page 6

Supplies of the BCG jab are being withdrawn after concerns were raised in Ireland over a batch of medicines.The Irish Medicines Board has temporarily withdrawn the licence held by Evans Vaccines, a subsidiary of Powderject Pharmaceuticals, which manufactures the vaccine.Powderject said the move followed testing that showed a small number of batches did not meet the end of shelf-life specification.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence has recommended in favour of the drug imatinib (Glivec) for all groups of patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia who are intolerant of interferon-alpha therapy, or where the treatment has failed to control the disease.The final appraisal determination comes after an initial recommendation - saying the drug should only be given to patients in the 'accelerated'phase of the disease - sparked outrage.

www. nice. nhs. uk Over 120,000 people helped by NHS smokingcessation services kicked the habit for at least a month, the Department of Health said last week.

From April 2001 to March 2002, 220,000 people contacted the service for help.NHS support includes a national telephone helpline, nicotine replacement therapy, counselling and support groups.

www. doh. gov. uk Terrence Higgins Trust and Healthy Gay Living Centre are to merge, subject to consultation with staff over the next month.The decision is the result of discussions held over several months.

HGLC is a leading provider of outreach services to gay men and specialist services to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

The former chief executive of Wolverhampton primary care trust is Mike Pyrah ('The only way is up', news focus, page 13, 8 August).Mr Pyrah is now chief executive of Central Cheshire PCT.