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Government withholds warnings about thalidomide

The Story


The horrific effects of thalidomide are proven in Europe and banned from pharmacies in December 1961. Canadian pharmacies, however, keep the drug on their shelves a full three to six months longer without warning the public of the dangers, even after the government becomes aware of the drug's effects on fetuses. By August 1962, at least 40 Canadian children had been born with deformities due to thalidomide.

Medium: Television
Program: Broken Promises
Broadcast Date: Feb. 14, 1989
Guest(s): Cliff Chadderton, Gustav Gingras, Peggy Murphy, Claude Murphy, Donald Traci
Host: Hana Gartner
Duration: 7:51

Did You know?


• Thalidomide was a sedative that was found to be effective when given to pregnant women to combat many of the symptoms associated with morning sickness. It was not realized that thalidomide molecules could cross the placental wall, affecting the fetus, until it was too late.


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