Catch-22, Clinical Trial Edition: The Double Bind for Women and Children

Scientific American: April 23, 2013

“I remember wheeling down this long, narrow corridor into my office, just a confused, scared mess, but I had to confront him.” Phil Vardy was a young medical researcher in Sydney that day in 1982. The man he had to confront was his boss, one of Australia’s most prominent doctors, William McBride.

He had just seen an article McBride published suggesting an ingredient in the drug Bendectin caused birth defects – with fabricated defects and experimental pregnant rabbits that didn’t exist either.

Vardy’s confrontation with McBride did not go well, and “small battles led to bigger ones which led to bigger ones.” It would cost Vardy his job and his marriage. After a decade of media storms and public enquiries establishing fraud, McBride lost his license to practice medicine. Read more