“Elixir” Available Now
Announcing the availability of my new book, Elixir: The American Tragedy of a Deadly Drug, at Amazon.
Elixir is the first detailed account of the scores of American deaths caused by Elixir Sulfanilamide, a new antibiotic solution, in the fall of 1937 and the surprising aftermath.
At the height of the Great Depression, the mysterious deaths of children in Oklahoma sparked an unprecedented investigation of a new and powerful antibiotic elixir. In a “nationwide race with death,” US Government agents struggled to seize and destroy hundreds of bottles of the toxic drug before more children could be killed. Elixir tells the shocking true story of the deaths of more than 100 Americans who fell victim to this untested drug, the forces that led to the disaster, and the parallels to similar episodes of drug poisoning that continue to this day.
“There may be no story more important in the history of consumer protection than this tale from the 1930s of chemically sweetened cough syrup and legions of dead children. And in her beautifully told, meticulously reported book, Elixir, Barbara Martin not only brings to life a historic tragedy but shows how it still echoes today, both in defining the regulations we have in place – and those we still need.” Deborah Blum, author, The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz-Age New York
“…extensively researched…often fascinating…a significant contribution to the medical community and general public.” William Van Nostran, Journal of the American Medical Writers’ Association
“Barbara J. Martin’s Elixir is the most complete account yet of events that played a key role in passage of the landmark U.S. Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938. Martin gives a name, face, and voice to many of those most closely involved, including patients, doctors, pharmaceutical company executives, chemists, and government employees. Carefully researched and medically informed but accessible and attractively written for a non-expert audience, Elixir is both historically accurate and timely. Martin does an important service by showing how this story is still alive in the present, especially in view of the uneven safeguards that are in place for the manufacture of prescription drugs in different parts of the world.” John E. Lesch, author, The First Miracle Drugs: How the Sulfa Drugs Transformed Medicine