Creator of Thalidomide Asks Forgiveness

Long Island Newsday – The German manufacturer of Thalidomide, Gruenenthal Group, apologized to mothers who took thalidomide during the 1950s and 1960s and to their children who suffered congenital birth defects because of the drug.

“We ask for forgiveness that for nearly 50 years we didn’t find a way of reaching out to you from human being to human being,” Harald Stock said. “We ask that you regard our long silence as a sign of the shock that your fate caused in us.”

Thalidomide, a powerful sedative, was sold under the brand name Contergan. It was given to pregnant women mostly to combat morning sickness, but led to a wave of birth defects in Europe, Australia, Canada and Japan. Thalidomide was yanked from the market in 1961 and was also found to cause defects in the eyes, ears, heart, genitals and internal organs of developing babies.

Thalidomide was never approved for use in pregnant women in the United States.

Read more: Thalidomide Maker Asks Forgiveness.

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