A Hero and a Villain

William McBride, the doctor famed both for warning about the harms of thalidomide—and defamed by accusations of misconduct—has died at age 91.

In 1961, the obstetrician was one of the doctors who noticed birth defects in babies and linked them to thalidomide, a sedative he prescribed for morning sickness. The drug was quickly pulled off shelves across the globe, making McBride a hero.

But prize money garnered from that discovery left McBride mired in controversy over his research into the possible harm caused by another drug, Bendectin. An investigation found that he knowingly published falsified statements. In 1993 McBride was barred from practicing medicine, but won back that right in 1998, on condition that he not conduct research.

The New York Times

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