How To Make A Billion Dollar Drug

In 1961, newspapers around the world ran stories (accompanied by horrific images) of deformed babies whose mothers had taken a drug to curb nausea during pregnancy called thalidomide. A vigilant FDA inspector had refused to approve thalidomide for sale in the United States because she was worried about its safety. But the thalidomide story, along with persistent new reports about other drug company abuses, were highlighted in hearings convened by Senator Estes Kefauver, a Tennessee Democrat. This created a political climate for clamping down on the emerging pharmaceutical industry, and in 1962, President John F. Kennedy strengthened the landmark Federal Food and Drugs Act of 1906.

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