i was speaking at an investigative journalism course last weekend and someone on the course (someone a bit rabid as it happens, especially about MMR, rather disappointingly) was suggesting that thalidomide was another example of the medical profession covering stuff up.
now, this is something people often say, but as i understand it, the whole thing was managed fairly swiftly and appropriately (it could never be swiftly enough, but you know what i mean): that australian doctor mcbride wrote to the lancet with his hunch on thalidomide, people were then aware of the problem so they looked into it, found it was causing birth defects, then pretty quickly it was off the market, and the yellow card system was launched in its wake.
the great investigative journalist philip knightley even talks in one of his books about how bad he felt that the sunday times insight team and the journalistic profession as a whole had been a bit slow off the mark with thalidomide, but the scandal i think they were writing about was whether the drug company would cough up damages or not, not that the medical profession covered up the side effects and made mcbride a pariah, as i have been told a few times.
anyway, this is proving to be a bugger of a question to settle on the internet, so does anyone here remember what happened, or have an inside track? were doctors who spoke out on thalidomide bullied? was there a cover up by the entire medical profession? i know some of you are, like, famous doctors and scientists and everything.
weirdly, mcbride was censured – but many years later – for hokey research. maybe thats what people think is the conspiracy? is there any reason to believe that was a conspiracy?
looking forward to your thoughts/recollections, here or in email if you’re shy. ideally the shift button will work on your keyboards.