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Better Condom Testing

September 17, 1987

Contrary to the implications in Allan Parachini's story ("Condom Industry Seeking Limits on U.S. Study," Aug. 28), the Health Industry Manufacturers Assn. acted responsibly in commenting to the appropriate government officials on serious scientific flaws in a government-funded study of the effectiveness of condoms in reducing the spread of AIDS. We offered our comments so that the National Institutes of Health could avoid pitfalls that would rob the study of credibility, waste the government's money, and--most important--mislead the public.

The Times did not act responsibly in this matter. It totally misinterpreted a time-honored tradition of open scientific exchange of views on a publicly funded study and gave the false impression that industry was trying to "weaken, delay or possibly shut down" the study.

To set the record straight, the industry strongly encourages careful research on AIDS and its prevention. That's why we offered suggestions for improving the design of the study and offered to share our expertise on test methodology with the researchers. We share a common mission with the government and the public--a commitment to sound science and development of accurate information.

NORMAN F. ESTRIN,

vice president

Science and Technology

Health Industry Manufacturers Assn.

Washington, D.C.

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