Zimelidine (Zelmid) Controversy

The controversy surrounding the licensing, marketing, and subsequent speedy withdrawal of the drug Zimelidine in the early 1980s is a case study in both the extraordinary promise of new drug research and the impact of revisionist data that leads ultimately to a field-wide reinvestigation of a drug’s apparently promising profile. In this case, the story of Zimelidine offers an instance of the dangers of rushing drugs into use without sufficient study. In addition, the often incendiary controversy surrounding Zimelidine provides a clear picture of how the pharmaceutical industry can react efficiently and effectively, unhampered by concerns for profits or by paranoia over protecting brand identification. But can that reaction itself be too hasty? In the case of Zimelidine, despite being the product of years of ...

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