Monday, August 6, 2007

Thalidomide, Phocomelia, and Lessons from History

In tracing the history of evidence-based medicine tonight (for a lecture I have to give on Friday), a found the story of thalidomide on wikipedia ( ).

(While I recognize that the information provided on this site is uncorroborated, I also recognize that it has been referenced by Federal Distric Courts in various decisions - see - so I consider it possibility generating rather than evidence corroborating.)

This story is a tragic one of a company with a product to sell (a "treatment looking for an indication" - hmmm...) and its unscrupulous marketing of this product in the absence of evidence of both safety and efficacy.

The story of Thalidomide should serve as a stark and poignant reminder of the potential harmful effects of a marketing campaign, impelled by profiteering, gone awry.

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