Talidomida tragedy, or As a "miracle pill" to destroy the bodies and lives of people

Even in our days the drugs are carefully tested to determine the side effects and contraindications in the media from time to time there are news about different issues, it would seem, completely safe drug. In the mid-20th century drugs were treated much simpler, that often leads to tragedy. The largest of these was talidomida in which persons with disabilities, thousands of people around the world.

Talidomida tragedy, or As a "miracle pill" to destroy the bodies and lives of people

Thalidomide — a drug that was prescribed to pregnant women as a sedative in the 50-60‑ies of the last century. As a result of unforeseen side effect from 1956 to 1962 in the world were born more than 12 thousand children with missing or deformed limbs.

Talidomida tragedy, or As a "miracle pill" to destroy the bodies and lives of people

This horrible story called thalidomide tragedy and because of her relation to the licensing of medicines has been completely revised. Unfortunately, it could not help the thousands of children born with deformities and doomed to lifelong suffering.

The drug thalidomide was presented to the German pharmaceutical company "grunenthal" in 1954. It was developed as an effective and inexpensive remedy for cramps, but, as with viagra, soon found an additional effect. Thalidomide showed a pronounced sedative and hypnotic effect.

Talidomida tragedy, or As a "miracle pill" to destroy the bodies and lives of people

Since the thalidomide have not found any side effects, it licensed and authorized to sell. Just a year needed this tool to conquer almost the entire world. In 1955 it was sold in 45 countries of the world under different names 37.

Thalidomide was administered to different groups of patients, but often, especially pregnant women, sleeping poorly because of morning sickness and anxiety syndrome. The cure has taken a leading position in the group of sedatives, first in Germany and then in other European countries. Often I bought except aspirin.

Expectant mothers could not get enough of "miracle pills" in minutes pogroszewski strong and similar to natural sleep, in spite of panic attacks and nausea. The first "bell" sounded in the family of an employee of the company "grunenthal" — his wife has a baby girl was born without ears.

Talidomida tragedy, or As a "miracle pill" to destroy the bodies and lives of people

Much later it became clear that the child's mother was not formally received in the sale of thalidomide in early pregnancy. The cure secretly took on the work of her husband, who had access to promising new product. But immediately after the birth of a child with a congenital deformity that no one thought to associate with the production of "Grunenthal". Children with physical defects are born all over the world and the problem of an ordinary German family nobody guarded.

Not caught by the Germans and later, when, for unknown reasons, the number of children with physical disabilities, mostly missing limbs, began to increase. The first sounded the alarm only in 1961, when these children became so much that it is impossible to call an accidental splash.

Talidomida tragedy, or As a "miracle pill" to destroy the bodies and lives of people

Scientists began to look for the cause of children without arms and legs, and at the same time drew attention to the high mortality rate of infants. Almost all of the tragic events have one thing in common — mothers of babies during pregnancy took a sedative drug thalidomide.

But understand this was not immediately apparent. 50-60‑ies of the 20th century will be remembered by all as the era of rapid development of nuclear weapons. The birth of sick kids began to explain the testing of weapons of mass destruction, held in different parts of the world. The real reason came out in 1961, a German pediatrician Widukind Lenz. He opened the sedation on the development of the fetus and immediately sent the results of their work in "grunenthal".

Talidomida tragedy, or As a "miracle pill" to destroy the bodies and lives of people

It was found that women taking the drug, up to 40% of children died within the first year after birth. Many kids born with underdeveloped, deformed, and often even missing limbs. The birth of such a child was a shock to parents and hundreds of babies were left directly in hospitals.

The first stopped selling the drug in Germany, and soon her example was followed by the UK and France. During 1961, thalidomide declined from almost everywhere except Japan and Italy. In these countries stopped selling dangerous pills 9 months later than the others and this delay has had dire consequences.

Talidomida tragedy, or As a "miracle pill" to destroy the bodies and lives of people

But why the terrible effect of the drug failed to detect during testing? As it turned out, the experimental animals are almost insensitive to the insidious thalidomide — its effect on mice, pigs and rabbits in 100 times weaker than on the human body.

In General, throughout the world think about the consequences of thalidomide, when he was crippled thousands of children. But in the USA it was different — there was a man that a German agent is not very comfortable. In the U.S. market thalidomide was put on sale in 1960 under the name "Kevadon". Licensing of drugs in the United States administers the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), which received the application for registration of a sedative.

Talidomida tragedy, or As a "miracle pill" to destroy the bodies and lives of people

The release of thalidomide to market the country welcomed the most eminent doctors and pharmacists, therefore, are responsible for a novelty to pharmacologist Frances Oldham Kelsey, who came to work in the FDA recently had no choice but to put the signature and seal of the licenses.

But the woman, despite calls to hurry, no hurry to claim "Kevadon". She was confused what is popular all over the world drug passed a symbolic test and found absolutely no side effects. Maybe it was the fact that thalidomide is simply not digested by animals?

Knowing that in Europe, Asia and even neighboring Canada thalidomide under different names actively discharged pregnant, Francis Kelsey sent the manufacturer a query about its effect on the body of expectant mothers and embryos. But to the surprise of the pharmacist, the company Richardson-Merrell, is going to release the drug in the U.S., was not interested in such things and there is nothing to announce on this occasion could not.

Talidomida tragedy, or As a "miracle pill" to destroy the bodies and lives of people

While top managers of the Richardson-Merrell did not hide his disappointment protracted negotiation, Christmas was coming, that the country has always been a surge of demand for narcotic drugs. Kelsey not only convinced, she even received threatening phone calls and sending letters home, but the woman was adamant.

The application for the licensing of thalidomide in the United States was not signed until 1961, when opened horrible side effects of the medication. In 1962, professionalism and civic consciousness Francis Kelsey was highly appreciated by the state President John Kennedy was awarded the woman of the award for distinguished civilian service.

Talidomida tragedy, or As a "miracle pill" to destroy the bodies and lives of people

Kelsey saved thousands of American children from disability and this ensured the respect of the nation. She died in 2015 at the age of 101 years and in her honor named the asteroid and established "Kelsey Prize", awarded to the most distinguished employees of the FDA.

In the fall of 2005 in Trafalgar square in London, a very unusual sculpture of a famous master Marc Quinn. She was a figure of a pregnant woman with a short haircut and no limbs. The model for this work was made by one of the victims of the tragedy thalidomide Alison Lapper is a British artist.

Talidomida tragedy, or As a "miracle pill" to destroy the bodies and lives of people

The woman was born in 1965 and everyone thought that she was doomed to a hopeless life a complete invalid, but Lapper could become known around the world and even started a family. The husband of the artist was very concerned when he learned that she was pregnant and planning to have a baby — he was afraid that the baby will be born with physical disabilities. But Alison gave birth to a perfectly healthy baby and immediately broke up with cowardly husband.

Unfortunately, the son of a brave woman still became a victim of thalidomide, albeit indirectly. The boy was bullied at school because of the shortcomings of his mother and at the age of 17 he was diagnosed with a mental disorder. At age 19, Lapper Jr. died of a drug overdose.

Alison is not immediately agreed to pose for a sculpture Quinn had several times to persuade the woman, assuring her that she's just as beautiful as antique pieces without limbs. In the end the work of the sculptor was waiting for the incredible success she stood two years in Trafalgar square, and a copy was presented at the opening ceremony of the Paralympic games in 2012. Lapper became for many people the female symbol of steadfast will and confidence.

Talidomida tragedy, or As a "miracle pill" to destroy the bodies and lives of people

The story of thalidomide is not over yet — the company "grunenthal" continues to pay lifetime benefits to the victims of the drug. As of 2005, was paid more than EUR 400 million in compensation (36 billion). Oddly enough, but the thalidomide is used today — it is used in the treatment of leprosy.

But now the use of "miracle pills" carefully controlled — they are forbidden to take blood donors and sperm, and those who drink it, it is forbidden to have children and even having unprotected sex. The who does not recommend thalidomide and its analogs, and allow its admission as an exception under the strict supervision of a physician.

Keywords: Health and medicine | Ugliness | Medicine | Embryo | Disability | Children

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