The Great Debate

Thalidomide’s big lie overshadows corporate apology

By Sir Harold Evans
September 12, 2012

A lie wrapped in an apology is still a lie. It is a big lie, a particularly offensive lie, coming as it does from the German company Chemie Grünenthal responsible for inflicting its notorious drug thalidomide on hundreds of thousands of women in 52 countries. Some 90,000 babies are calculated to have died in spontaneous abortion, but at least 10,000 mothers are known to have given birth to malformed babies between 1958 and 1961; the most damaged survive today as limbless trunks, others whose legs and arms were reduced to digital “flipper” extrusions from the shoulder, and thousands have severe internal injuries as well.

Plan B: where politics trump science. Again.

By Amanda Marcotte
December 8, 2011

By Amanda Marcotte
The views expressed are her own.

Wednesday morning Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled the FDA’s long-awaited decision taking age restrictions off Plan B emergency contraception. The change would have allowed those 16 and under to buy Plan B, moving it from behind the pharmacist counter and into the shelves alongside aspirin and condoms. But now that won’t happen.

Let cancer patients have this pill

September 17, 2010

CANADA-HEALTH/

One more day — or week, or month, or perhaps even a year. It may not seem like much time, but patients with incurable cancer know better. For Christi Turnage of Mississippi, who lives with stage IV breast cancer, it means seeing her daughter start kindergarten, celebrating her 27th wedding anniversary, and watching her sons graduate from college.

Don’t demonize drug samples. They are crucial to our healthcare

By Guest Contributor
September 8, 2010

AIDS DEATH RISE DESPITE CALLS FOR TREATMENTThe following is a guest post by Grace-Marie Turner, founder and president of the Galen Institute, a non-profit research organization focusing on patient-centered solutions to health reform.

Extending vaccines to the worlds poorest

October 31, 2009

Joe-Cerrell-410.jpg–Joe Cerrell is director of Global Health Policy and Advocacy at the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation. He oversees the foundation’s global health communications, public policy, and international finance. The views expressed are his own. –

The myth of drug “re-importation”

July 13, 2009

Peter Pitts — Peter J. Pitts is president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest and a former FDA associate commissioner. The views expressed are his own. –