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Mary LaskerMary Lasker
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people, like, say, two or three hundred, and have shown to be not really harmful, or if they're toxic they're not toxic in such a dangerous way that it will irreversible. You know, they are usually things which already have shown considerable success, but in order to convince the doctors of the United States that these are important and make a difference in the average length of life or that are important therapeutically, they should be given on a wide scale promptly. You need a large-scale clinical trial, thousands of people, maybe four or five thousand, so that you get conformation of the smaller trials. Now, the Veterans Administration is ideal for this.

They had done, as I had known, a major clinical trial in 1946 and 1947 with streptomycin in connection with TB and they had shown beyond all doubt the large-scale effectiveness of streptomycin intuberculosis. I recall this because the streptomycin was purchased by Paul Hawley from George Merck at my house at a luncheon I gave for Sir Howard Florey, the discover of penicillin. Merck told Hawley that he had large quantities of streptomycin on hand and he didn't know if he was going to be able to get rid of it all, and Hawley said, “How about my buying a million dollars' worth from you?” and it was done. With this amount of streptomycin the usefulness of streptomycin was established, and this affected the TB death rate throughout the world, as you know.

So, I made some inquiries about how much money the Veterans



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