The Tragic Case of Poisoning That Finally Got Us Safe Drugs

Posted on AllSides October 1st, 2022
From The Left
Office of War Information Photograph Collection/Library of Congress

Before the modern era of medicine, during the first few decades of the 20th century, three of the top 10 causes of death in the United States were pneumonia, tuberculosis, and diarrhea/enteritis—all infections. Identifying drugs that could fight these infections—antibiotics—was a public health priority, worldwide.

While the safety of food and drugs, and the impact on public health, was at the core of the formation of the Food and Drug Administration, none of the legislation that created the agency in 1930 actually focused directly on a drug’s safety. Accurate labeling,...

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