The long-running saga of the Makena treatment for preventing premature births has taken yet another twist as AMAG Pharmaceuticals (AMAG), which sells the drug, revealed it failed a confirmatory study.

The trial found the treatment was no better than a placebo and the disclosure quickly raised speculation that the medicine, which was approved eight years ago, might be withdrawn, sending AMAG stock down nearly 20 percent in midday trading on Friday.

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