Thalidomide Side Effects Were Hidden By Manufacturer: Report

The makers of the controversial morning sickness drug Thalidomide, which has been linked to thousands of birth defects worldwide, appears to have intentionally misled investigators and the public decades ago in an effort to hide the side effects associated with the controversial drug, according to German officials. 

In a report released by the German state of North-Rhine Westphalia (NRW), investigators from the University of Muenster indicate that the drug manufacturer Gruenenthal gave the medical and scientific community false information about the potential Thalidomide side effects, kept knowledge of problems associated with the drug a secret, and delayed efforts to remove the drug from the market as long as possible.

The activities happened decades ago, when the side effects of thalidomide were first suspected, according to the investigation, which was reported by Reuters.

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Thalidomide was first released as a morning sickness drug in 1957. Four years later, it was removed from the market after it was determined that the thalidomide caused major birth defects when used during pregnancy. It was the first product that established medications could cross the placental barrier and cause harm to a fetus.

It is estimated that between 10,000 and 20,000 children were born worldwide with birth defects from thalidomide. It’s impact was limited in the United States because the FDA denied the drug approval, saying that it needed to be more thoroughly tested. However, the drug was given to doctors in the U.S. during its clinical testing phase and it is unclear how many children it affected.

Thalidomide is now sold under the brand name Thalomid and is used for the treatment of multiple myeloma.

In 2012, Gruenenthal officials formally apologized to those who continue to suffer birth defects due to the drug’s side effects and dedicated a statue to thalidomide victims in Stolberg, Germany.

Following the apology over the thalidomide birth defects, many victims told various media outlets that the action was insulting and did little those who were born with life-long health problems caused by the drug’s side effects.


  • PaulNovember 17, 2016 at 12:44 am

    Just need to know why it now haven't had any one contact me over my birth defect

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