For healthcare professionals only

Views & Reviews Drug Tales and Other Stories


BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 25 September 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e6420
  1. Robin Ferner, director, West Midlands Centre for Adverse Drug Reactions, Birmingham City Hospital, Birmingham B18 7QH, UK
  1. R.E.Ferner{at}

Louis Lewin seems to have been the first to write a treatise on adverse drug reactions. According to The Incidental Effects of Drugs: A Pharmacological and Clinical Handbook,1 the causes of adverse drug reactions, “may be either peculiar to the individual, or dependent upon temporal or local influences, or the quality of the drug.” Lewin wrote this more than 50 years before 73 people died from taking Massengill’s Elixir Sulfanilamide—made up in diethylene glycol, a sweet but deadly solvent.2 …

View Full Text

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription