Drugs: Fallout from Thalidomide

David's mother was taking a tranquilizer during her pregnancy nine years ago. So was Richard's mother, a year later. For both, the drug was prescribed under its British trade name, Distaval, one of the innumerable synonyms for thalidomide.* By whatever name, thalidomide had tragic effects on thousands of the unborn. David was born with neither arms nor legs. Richard has legs but no arms and only a single digit projecting from his right shoulder.

In London two weeks ago, a high-court trial ended with a landmark settlement against the Distillers Co., which made...

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