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PILL THAT FIGHTS BALDNESS OK'D

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first pill to fight baldness, a one-a-day tablet that promises to help men regrow hair and prevent more from falling out.

Merck & Co. said Propecia, approved late Friday but announced today, will be available by prescription in mid-January. The company estimates consumers will pay $45 to $49 for a month's supply.

Propecia is not a miracle pill -- none of the hundreds of men who tested the drug grew a full head of hair, and not everybody was even helped. But before-and-after photographs showed Propecia can shrink bald spots, a few by enough that just a quarter-sized spot of scalp still showed.

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