In a recent Inside Out Quality podcast, Neil Vargesson (who was part of our USTS Online Speaker Series in 2020) was the guest, alongside Justine Peterson, P.A. They covered an overview of Thalidomide and its launch in Europe in the late 1950s. Clinical trials weren’t like they are today; as a result, thousands of children suffered from extreme birth defects or died before birth due to Thalidomide.
In the US, Frances Kelsey, a new FDA reviewer, pushed for safety data before allowing it to be approved. Her work undoubtedly saved many babies in the US; though US Thalidomide Survivors know very well that too many of us still received the samples in-utero, that were being handed out liberally by doctors here, as part of clinical trials, and an aggressive marketing campaign.
Prof. Vargesson is currently the Chair of Developmental Biology at the Institute of Medical Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Aberdeen in Aberdeen, Scotland. In his talk, he mentions the US survivors, still fighting for recognition.
The podcast is as clear and easy-to-understand as it is fascinating. Thanks, Neil!