Thalidomide was developed in the United States as a possible antiseizure drug, but when it was found to have no antiseizure properties, rights were sold to a West German drug company (Chemie Gruenenthal) that continued testing. Chemie Gruenenthal found that thalidomide was a reasonably effective sedative with an unusual property: there was no fatal dosage. As a sedative, the drug could be prescribed to potentially suicidal patients without risk of overdose. After testing with what seems to have been rigged results, thalidomide was approved for distribution in West Germany. Subsequently, it became apparent that it relieved nausea, or morning sickness, in many women during early pregnancy. This discovery led to a tragedy affecting thousands of lives.
Chemie Gruenenthal marketed thalidomide successfully, both in its pure form and in multiple-drug combinations, for a wide variety of...
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