By dint of both resemblance and contrast, the recently reported (Br Heart J 40:1069-1118, 1978) cooperative trial of clofibrate for the prevention of ischemic heart disease evokes the memory of the University Group Diabetes Project's (UGDP) controversial report on the trial of tolbutamide for the treatment of diabetes. This memory, one need hardly mention, is kept very much alive by the still continuing debate. A recent volume of Advances in Internal Medicine features both the defense and the attack—the latter targeting on the flaws in design, statistical interpretation, and premature termination of the trial.
No such attack is likely to follow the clofibrate trial, which began in 1965 and ran uninterruptedly until 1978. A total of 10,000 men in three cities—Edinburgh, Budapest, and Prague— were chosen from the upper one third of the serum cholesterol distribution in some 30,000 volunteers. They were randomly divided into two equal groups. One group