Three Cheers for Regulation
RIP to Dr. Kelsey, “a petty bureaucrat” (according to drug lobbyists) who prevented Thalidomide from entering the U.S. Market by asking the drug manufacturer for more information. Thalidomide was already used in European markets and Merrell was anxious to tap into the U.S. market and sell the drug as a cure for morning sickness. Thalidomide was linked to children being born with misformed arms and limbs by the end of 1961. According to the Times:
Eventually researchers learned that thalidomide crossed the placental barrier and retarded development of the fetus, whose drug-metabolizing enzymes are undeveloped. No one knows how many babies were affected by thalidomide, but estimates range into the tens of thousands in Europe alone. Many were born without arms or legs, some with no limbs or with withered appendages protruding directly from the trunk. Some had no external ears or deformities of the eyes, the esophagus or intestinal tracts.
So Three Cheers for Regulation!!