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April 11, 1986

Penicillin: Meeting the Challenge

Author Affiliations

College of Physicians and Surgeons Columbia University New York

JAMA. 1986;255(14):1943. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370140141045

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


Do we need another book about penicillin? There have been at least a dozen on the discovery and application of this wonderful molecule. Fleming, Florey, and colleagues in the United Kingdom and the United States have had their roles evaluated and reevaluated.

Gladys Hobby's book reiterates many of the well-known facts and stresses her personal interpretation of the early history of penicillin. How does the book enlarge upon the useful data in Ronald Hare's excellent 1970 book The Birth of Penicillin? In my mind, Dr Hobby has provided many fascinating details about the US pharmaceutical industry's early involvement in penicillin. Her excellent, referenced text allows one to check out original works to come to grips with some of the controversy surrounding the early years of this drug.

This book is useful to look over if you are familiar with the story of penicillin. I particularly enjoyed the many illustrations of