Thalidomide babies and the company that was responsible for them u gas station near me


Wirtz himself was a former Nazi, but other more disturbing individuals were involved. Johnson believes the drug was developed by Otto Ambros, who was known as the “devil’s chemist” of Auschwitz. Ambros helped develop the nerve agent, sarin gas, and thalidomide was apparently tested as an antidote on inmates in concentration camps. This past is hinted at in the 1954 patent which states that human trials of thalidomide were carried out before Grunenthal’s official tests began.

Furthermore, another document shows the pharmaceutical company purchased the trade name Contergan from a French pharmaceutical company called Rhone-Poulenc, which was controlled by the Nazis. The French company was the only company to use the suffix ‘ergan.’ A total of 14 drugs developed in the early-1940s bear this suffix, and all demonstrate similarities to thalidomide.

While increases in infant deformities skyrocketed around the globe, the tenacity of the FDA’s Dr. Frances Oldham Kelsey prevented a similar disaster occurring in the United States (only about 17 cases were reported). The FDA never approved the use of thalidomide thanks to Dr. Kelsey’s concern with the lack of clinical trials, lack of tests on pregnant animals, and insufficient reporting of its adverse effects by William S. Merrell, an American drug company. Her work led to a tightening of the FDA’s authority of drug testing in general.

Wikimedia Commons/LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images Artificial limbs that were commonly worn by thalidomide children in the 1960s. A German baby girl, born armless as a result of her mother taking the tranquilizer thalidomide wears a harness fitted with prosthetic arms and tiny boxing glove-like hands.

Now, thousands of thalidomide babies and their families had to find new ways to cope and gain some semblance of a normal life. Many didn’t. Babies were left to die by midwives, while others were abandoned by parents. Some parents committed suicide.

“They were totally unfunctional,” recalled Kevin Donnelion. “…[Special] arms which are activated by gas cylinders which you move your shoulder and then the claws would open. Most of the time you just drop things… The gas wouldn’t last that long, and sometimes you’d be picking up a cob, say, and you’d get it halfway to your mouth and then the gas would run out. The legs in some way were worse because they were far more dangerous. I mean these legs were extremely heavy, you know…With having no arms I couldn’t save myself if I fell over… I’ve got loads of stitches in the back of my head.” Thalidomide Babies Today

Despite severe disabilities, many thalidomide babies grew to have fulfilling lives and families of their own. Louise Medus, who is married to Darren Mansell, himself a thalidomider (as many adult survivors call themselves), have two dogs and two round-the-clock carers.

Her father spearheaded a lawsuit against Distillers the British distributors of thalidomide, winning a settlement of £26 million ($35.8 million) for 370 families, and which led to the formation of the Thalidomide Trust in the U.K. Medus, herself, was a member of the Trust’s National Advisory Council (NAC).

Medus, also, has two grown children from her first marriage. Despite the possibility of deformities being passed down to the children of thalidomiders, Medus’ children do not have deformities. Medus has been estranged from her own parents and siblings but is close to her children. “Thalidomide has not only affected the survivors,” Medus told The Guardian in 2014. “[I]t has affected the survivor’s siblings, their parents, and their children. So you don’t just have a thalidomide baby – you have a thalidomide family.” Is Thalidomide a Wonder Drug?

In Jerusalem, just three years after thalidomide was removed from shelves, Dr. Jacob Sheskin made a startling discovery after he sedated a patient with thalidomide. His patient was one of 5-percent of leprosy sufferers who are afflicted with erythema nodosum leprosum (ENL), a condition which causes deep painful skin lesions on the face, arms and thighs which can lead to deformities.

Remarkably the skin lesions disappeared overnight. Dr. Sheskin’s results led to thalidomide being administered to leprosy sufferers around the world. The use of thalidomide to treat ENL caused more cases of thalidomide babies, especially in Brazil.

More recently, thalidomide is being used to inhibit blood flow to tumors, to treat various cancers, reduce the inflammatory effect of Crohn’s disease, alleviate complications of HIV, and even to help reduce chances a donor organ will be rejected by the new host’s body.

However, long-term use of thalidomide has also been found to cause neuropathy, a painful condition caused by damaged nerves usually in the arms and legs. But there is hope. With thalidomide’s positive benefits, it is hoped new research conducted by various medical institutes will help develop ways around the drugs harmful side effects.