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Your obituary of Willie McBride (29th September) devoted much space to the thalidomide story. However, the first clinical reports world wide of adverse effects of thalidomide were not mentioned. These were both published in the BMJ 11-12 months before McBride’s famous letter.
At the end of 1960 and in January 1961, two reports from general practice in Britain noted neuropathy as an adverse effect. Historically these were important as they led to the FDA in the USA withholding approval for thalidomide.
Denis Pereira Gray
Professor Sir Denis Pereira Gray OBE HonDSc FRCP FRCGP FMedSci
Florence AL. Is thalidomide to blame? BMJ 1960; 2 :1954
Kuenssberg EV, Simpson JA, Stanton JB. (1961) Is thalidomide to blame? BMJ January 1961; 1 :291