Sunday, February 8, 2015

Carl Djerassi (1923 - 2015): The Story of a Drug Needs to Start with Chemistry

The steroid pioneer Carl Djerassi, often referred to as "the father of the birth control pill," passed away in January of this year. Not much can be said about Djerassi's accomplishments that has not been discussed at length elsewhere. An account of his momentous impact on the post-World War II era race to synthesize cortisone is provided here. The indefatigable Djerassi, even at the age of 91, was still writing seething letters to C&EN about objectionable work published by the science magazine. In the October 27, 2014 issue (page 3), Djerassi made the following comments regarding Jonathan Eig's book about the development of the birth control pill:


BIRTH OF THE PILL:
A ROMANTIC FABLE

"I find it remarkable that a chemical science magazine would publish a glib review of a glib journalistic rehashed account by Jonathan Eig of the origin of the Pill, which ignores that the work, as with any other synthetic drug, needs to start with chemistry (C&EN, Oct. 27, 2014, page 3 - 4)..."

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