Thalidomide was created by a small German company 'Chemie Grunenthal' in the 50's, Thalidomide was hailed as a "wonder drug", a sedative, and able to alleviate morning sickness in pregnant women, it was aggressively marketed world-wide from 1957 with the guarantee that it could be “given with complete safety to pregnant women and nursing mothers without any adverse effect on mother and child.” During the four years it was on the market, doctors prescribed it as a nontoxic antidote to morning sickness and sleeplessness—and it sold by the millions.
By early 1959, reports started to surface that the drug was toxic, with scores of adults suffering from peripheral neuritis damaging the nervous system. As profits kept rolling in, however, Chemie Grünenthal suppressed that information, bribing doctors and pressuring critics and medical journals for years. Even after an Australian doctor connected thalidomide with deformed births in 1961, it took four months for the company to withdraw the drug. By then, it is estimated to have affected 100,000 pregnant women, causing at least 90,000 miscarriages and thousands of deformities to the babies who survived.
Throughout the world, about 10,000 cases were reported of infants with phocomelia due to thalidomide; only 50% of the 10,000 survived. Those subjected to thalidomide while in the womb experienced limb deficiencies in a way that the long limbs either were not developed or presented themselves as stumps. Other effects included deformed eyes and hearts, deformed alimentary and urinary tracts, blindness and deafness.
"All's I'm asking for, is that a company who have enjoyed life so luxuriously, making millions each year in profits, and patting each other on the back to celebrate such amazing success, to take responsibility for what they created and for how they got off the ground, who's paying for that success ?" Gary Skyner.