Thursday, January 3, 2013

Thalidomide


How many of you have ever hear of the drug Thalidomide? 
It was a drug made by the Nazis and "pushed" to millions of people as a new wonder tranquilizer.
What I am about to show you and tell you should:
 PISS YOU OFF! 
MAKE YOU SICK!
 AND ASK WHY?



It was marketed  aggressively in 46 countries
 with the guarantee that it could be given with complete safety to pregnant women and nursing mothers
 without any adverse effect on the mother and child. 
During the four years it was on the market doctors prescribed it as a nontoxic antidote to morning sickness and sleeplessness and it was sold by the
millions.


Thalidomide was a drug developed in 1954 by the Grunenthal GmbH,


 is a German pharmaceutical 
company and it marketed the drug under at least 37 names worldwide.
GmbH was a small private company set up after WWII as an 
offshoot of an old family firm that made
soap and detergents.
Its first pharmaceuticals were produced under foreign license,
but
Thalidomide
which it called
Contergan 


was its own, a sedative discovered by accident in the spring of 
1954 by a 32 year old chemist and doctor,

(Of the Polish judicial medical experiments on him were concentration camp prisoners and 
forced laborers during the time of National Socialism accused.
He avoided arrest by fleeing to the western zones of occupation,
publicly known as his role as Scientific Director at the Stolberg pharmaceutical company
Grunenthal.)

To exploit the postwar sleeping pill boom,
Grunenthal marketed it massively from October 1957 as a 
completely safe
completely atoxic
and
free of unpleasant side effects
of barbiturates.
The sales department called it 
"the apple of our eye"
because it was so profitable. From 1958 to 1961
they zeroed in on promoting it for use by 
expectant mothers.


During this time period the use of medications during pregnancy was not controlled, and drugs were not 
thoroughly tested for potential harm to the fetus. 
Thousands of pregnant woman took the drug to relieve
their symptoms. At that time scientist did not believe any drug taken by a pregnant woman could
pass across the placental barrier and harm the developing fetus.


Between 1957 to 1961 some 90,000 babies are calculated to have died
in spontaneous abortion,
 between 10,000 to 20,000 babies were affected by the drug, many
born with deformities :
Fin like hands growing out of the shoulders


stunted or missing limbs

deformed eyes and ears
ingrown genitals
no lungs
stillborn...


To make things even worse,
 the same birth defects are now being found in 
second and third generation 
Thalidomide users.




For nearly a half century, the privately owned company was silent and secretive about
the epic tragedy it created while earning a vast profit. Even before its release, the wife
of an employee gave
 birth to a baby without ears.
But
Grunenthal ignored the warning.
Within two years 
an estimated 
million people
in West Germany were taking the drug on a daily basis.



By early 1959, reports started to surface that the drug was toxic, with scores
of adults suffering from peripheral neuritis damaging the 
nervous system.
As profits kept rolling in, however
Grunenthal suppressed that information,
bribing doctors and pressuring critics and medical
journals for years. Even after an
Australian doctor connected the drug with deformed births in 1961,
it took four months for the company to withdraw the drug.
By then it is estimated to have affected 
100,000
pregnant women,
causing at least 90,000 miscarriages
and 
thousands of deformities to the babies who
survived.


Previously secret documents revealed repeated warning to Grunenthal from 
doctors and distributors from as far afield as Sri Lanka and Lebanon.
It was said the documents also showed thalidomide was 
NEVER 
tested on gestating animals before it went on sale.
Instead
the first ever clinical trails were conducted in Australia in 1960 and used
pregnant women
rather than laboratory animals as test subjects.
At that time doctors were already allegedly warning Grunenthal
that their drug caused birth defects.
Throughout 1960 and 1961 hospitals and pharmacist were returning
their entire thalidomide stocks or refusing to buy or supply it.
As many as 10 Grunenthal staff had children with birth defects
after taking the drug between 1959 to 1961,
with similar number of deformities among children born to employees at its
British partner Distillers.

In house lawyers warned the company repeatedly in 1961 that it had 
"behaved improperly in failing to provide adequate warning to doctors and consumers,"
"had been negligent and was at great risk in legal proceedings," it added.


The horror of this story lives on today...

1 comment:

  1. Are you aware of the incorrect information on here?

    ReplyDelete