Medicine: Stir over Darvon

False alarm, or a real one?

As director of Ralph Nader's Health Research Group, Dr. Sydney Wolfe has prodded federal agencies into protecting the public against a number of health hazards, from Red Dye No. 2 to chloroform. Though Wolfe's critics grudgingly acknowledge his effectiveness, they maintain that he is overzealous. Last week Wolfe gave critics some new ammunition.

In a letter to HEW Secretary Joseph Califano, Wolfe asked for an immediate ban on the sale of the widely prescribed pain reliever propoxyphene, best known as Darvon. He claimed not only that Darvon is an ineffective painkiller, but also that in...

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