Podcast: Neil Vargesson on “Thalidomide –The Drug and Woman That Changed the FDA Forever”

by | Feb 21, 2021

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!

Click below to go to the Inside Out Quality podcast.

photo of player from the website; click here

John Marshall

Most of us participated in a guided tour of the US Capitol Building. Most impressive, in my opinion, was the Rotunda, the infamous domed circular room in the center of the Capitol. The historical paintings i.e., the Declaration of Independence along with the statues and busts of former presidents were impressive. BUT no one could resist looking up!

The conference was a jam-packed three days ending with a “roaming” dinner in the hotel. The term is used lightly, as it turns out, we have a party animal in our midst. Our fearless leader, JoJo Calora, had quite the set-up in his room. He had karaoke goin’ on. He also cranked up the tunes and blasted out heavy metal! Did you know there’s a song about thalidomide? It’s called “Prescribing Horror” by Exodus. You shouldn’t listen to it before you go to sleep. LOL! Fortunately, no neighbors complained, and fun was had by all. Although there was food, snacks, and drinks in three other rooms, people didn’t roam much. JoJo had the fun room! Can’t wait for next year!

Robert Gamble, JoJo and Elizabeth


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