In 'Wonder Drug,' Jennifer Vanderbes traces the dark history of thalidomide : NPR's Book of the Day In the 1960s, FDA inspector Frances Kelsey was assigned her first drug to review: thalidomide. Her thorough investigation led her to discover that the drug had caused pregnant women to bear babies with birth defects around the world – including in the U.S., where the drug had been distributed in clinical trials. Jennifer Vanderbes' new book, Wonder Drug, looks back on that chapter of American history. In today's episode, she tells NPR's Ayesha Rascoe how big and unregulated the pharmaceutical industry was at that time, and how patients suffered the consequences.

'Wonder Drug' traces the dark history of thalidomide and the birth defects it caused

'Wonder Drug' traces the dark history of thalidomide and the birth defects it caused

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Random House
Random House
Random House

In the 1960s, FDA inspector Frances Kelsey was assigned her first drug to review: thalidomide. Her thorough investigation led her to discover that the drug had caused pregnant women to bear babies with birth defects around the world – including in the U.S., where the drug had been distributed in clinical trials. Jennifer Vanderbes' new book, Wonder Drug, looks back on that chapter of American history. In today's episode, she tells NPR's Ayesha Rascoe how big and unregulated the pharmaceutical industry was at that time, and how patients suffered the consequences.