Well intentioned medical breakthroughs, with unforeseen consequences:

• Thalidomide was on the market for five years before it was withdrawn.

• Frontal lobotomies were considered appropriate from the 1930’s through to the mid-sixties (the physician who pioneered the procedure, Portuguese neurologist Antonio Egas Moniz received the Nobel prize in Medicine in 1949 for his discovery)

• Vaginal mesh implants, promoted by the Australian Medical Association, were introduced in the late 1990s as a routine treatment for urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. It took some time to become apparent but the device caused irreparable damage to tens of thousands of women (incontinence, dyspareunia, vaginal wall protrusion, systemic autoimmune responses and intractable pain) Billions of dollars in lawsuits followed.

Interestingly none of the above had undergone any form of clinical trial to confirm safety and efficacy.

Expand full comment