About 3% of babies are born with birth defects, when there is a problem with how they develop in the womb.
We still don't know what's behind four out of every five birth defects. But that can change.
Observational scientists study subjects in real life, outside a controlled laboratory environment.
The randomised controlled trial is touted as the gold standard in medical research. But its controlled laboratory conditions are far removed from the messy realities of life.
Human embryo at 5 weeks.
The MHRA has opened an inquiry on the once popular pregnancy test pills. Did they really cause birth defects in children born in the 1970s?
A snapshot of 2015: health reviews, Health Check series, thalidomide series, Medicare versus private health insurance.
AAP; Shutterstock; Julian Smith/; Dave Hunt/AAP
This was the year of the health review – mental health care, Medicare, private health insurance, the pharmacy industry ... and the list goes on. But how much movement was there on policy?
Melbourne woman Lynette Rowe is one of around 10,000 people born with thalidomide-related disabilities.
Thalidomide is notorious for causing death and disability but it – and its derivatives – are proving useful for conditions such as leprosy.
The thalidomide tragedy provided important lessons about how drugs can impact on fetal organ development.
Image Point Fr/Shutterstock
The thalidomide tragedy changed how medicines are viewed during pregnancy – not only by pregnant women, but also the wider community.
Events disturbingly similar to the thalidomide tragedy continue to occur.
Tighter regulations of medicines and devices have prevented countless deaths and disabilities. But regulation can't always protect us from harm.
Thalidomide has a long and controversial history across the globe.
Thalidomide was responsible for one of the biggest drug disasters in history. It is making a comeback. But is Africa equipped to handle this controversial drug?
Fewer than 3,000 thalidomide survivors are alive today.
Reactions to the thalidomiders' difference contributed – and continue to contribute – to their negative well-being and deteriorating health.
Lynette Rowe’s lawyers successfully negotiated a multimillion dollar settlement, but not every compensation case is that successful.
Julian Smith/AAP Image
Decades have passed and yet the issue of financial compensation for the remaining "survivors" of the thalidomide tragedy has, in many instances, remained unresolved.
Michael Magazanik (left) with lead plaintiff Lynette Rowe, her mother and lawyer Peter Gordon during the trial in Melbourne.
Journalist-turned-lawyer Michael Magazanik worked on recent Australian thalidomide lawsuits. As part of our series on the drug, he spoke to Ian Freckelton about the book he wrote, based on the case.
Thalidomide was used by the pregnant women – the population that turned out to be most vulnerable to its risks.
Thalidomide's manufacturer, Chemie Grünenthal, marketed the drug as safe for pregnant women despite reports it was causing malformations in newborns. Why such blatant denial?
Led a major campaign in the 1970s.
Sir Harold Evans talks to Richard Sambrook about The Sunday Times' moral campaign against thalidomide's manufacturers, the fight for political validation and the rise of investigative journalism.
Thalidomide was initially marketed for daytime use, first as a flu treatment, then as ain aid to reduce stress and anxiety.
Thalidomide was developed in an era of widespread enthusiasm – but little critical attention – for pharmaceutical therapies.
Thalidomide was marketed as a safe, sleep-inducing drug, but when taken during pregnancy it could cause severe birth defects.
Melbourne thalidomider Lyn Rowe (right) won her legal case for compensation in 2012, at age 50.
Supplied by the Rowe Family/AAP
Thalidomide caused thousands of spontaneous abortions and left more than 10,000 children severely disabled. What guarantee is there that the same thing can’t occur again today?
Documents reveal thalidomide's manufacturer was warned about possible harms as early as 1956.
Some medications are harmful to take while pregnant, but for others it can be more harmful if you don’t take them.
A third of Australian women take medication while pregnant. So what's safe and what's not?
Women planning a family who abruptly stop using antidepressants may be putting themselves in harm’s way.
Research published today has found an association between commonly used antidepressants and birth defects. But pregnant women face greater harms from stopping their medication abruptly.
The centuries-long practice of blood letting was finally proven to be ineffective, thanks to clinical trials in the 19th century.
The Medieval Cookbook/Wikimedia Commons
MEDICAL HISTORIES - The final instalment in our short series discusses the evolution of evidence-based medicine. Like bleeding, doctors’ intuition was a central part of medical practice until it was categorically…