Grunenthal Group: The Thalidomide Tragedy

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Grunenthal Group’s CRO finally issued a formal apology fifty years after releasing a medicine, Thalidomide, that crippled and killed over ten thousand babies on August, 31, 2012 (“Thalidomide Apology 50 years Later”). This terrible tragedy is known as the Thalidomide Tragedy, a tragedy that could have been avoided had Grunenthal simply valued a child’s life more than money. The Thalidomide tragedy seemingly started with good intentions, but resulted in a medical scandal that has scarred thousands of lives.
To begin with, Thalidomide was first sold in 1957,as a tranquilizer, in Western Germany (“Thalidomide”). From the very beginning, Thalidomide was popular with the public. Doctors claimed that Thalidomide was” completely safe””even during
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Grunenthal ignored all complaints, though he could find no practical evidence to back up his argument that Thalidomide was completely safe. Eventually, it was taken off the market in March of 1962 (“Helix Magazine”). But, Grunenthal did not force it’s sister company in Spain to foreclose, so it was sold in Madrid,Spain until about 1980 (“Thalidomide”). It did not help that the Spanish government did not properly enforce the controls over Thalidomide usage (“Thalidomide”). Fortunately, America did not face this horrendous tragedy because the Food and Drug Administration, FDA, refused to approve the drug (“Science Museum. Brought to Life: Exploring the History of Medicine). For although FDA inspector Frances Kelsy was being pressured by her superiors to approve the drug, she insisted that she wouldn’t until proper pregnancy tests were performed (“Helix Magazine). Sadly, somehow Thalidomide was able to penetrate the FDA because exactly seventeen children suffered deformities from Thalidomide in America (“Thalidomide”). Even nowadays Thalidomide is being used. In Brazil 5.8 million pills have been distributed to the impoverished to help diminish the effect of leprosy. Even though, women taking Thalidomide must submit to regular pregnancy tests and use two types of birth control. Sadly, some children are still being born with Thalidomide-based disabilities today in these rural countries, and because of this, no scientist can calculate how many children have been born with disabilities (Thalidomide”). Thalidomide has also been approved in America to help treat leprosy and multiple myeloma (“Thalidomide”). Although a foundation was created to compensate the families, monetary gain cannot diminish the atrocities that affected so many

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