Garry Gray: media article on the thalidomide crisis published

In the 1950s, German company Chemie Grünenthal developed a “wonder drug” sleeping pill that it marketed around the world as safe for everyone, including expectant mothers. This mild sedative was also found to mitigate the effects of morning sickness, resulting in increased use by the population that turned out to be most vulnerable to its risks.

Shortly after the drug came on the market, reports of infant deaths and startling birth malformations were made worldwide. Grünenthal rigorously denied thalidomide’s association with these adverse effects for a long time.

It took until 1962 for the pill to be banned in most countries and decades of extensive legal battles ensued. More than half a century later, the thalidomide crisis is continuing to shed insights on pharmaceutical ethics, scientific integrity and professional wrongdoing.

Garry Gray's article "Why did thalidomide's makers ignore warnings about their drug?" was published online in The Conversation and the article is also part of a thalidomine series published this week by The Conversation