In 1962, Louis Lasagna was one of the central figures in the creation of our current drug regulation systems. His influence on the practice of modern medicine, through a series of unanticipated consequences of these systems, has been profound. In the 1960s, he was one of the most progressive thinkers in medicine. By the 1980s, he had apparently become one of the most reactionary. This article attempts to delineate the dilemmas he believed he was dealing with, dilemmas that stemmed from a system he had helped create, that produced this apparent change in orientation. The problems with which he grappled are ones that remain unresolved and, indeed, have become more acute. The example of how he attempted to remedy what had gone wrong may provide pointers as to how to solve or how not to solve current difficulties.