Drugs: Thalidomide on Trial

The drug was never licensed for sale in the U.S., so American victims of thalidomide number fewer than 20. Great Britain, however, has more than 1,000 thalidomide babies. In West Germany, where Chemie Grünenthal GMBH first introduced thalidomide as a magically potent tranquilizer and sleeping pill, there are at least 3,184 surviving thalidomide-deformed children, while an equal number have died. In addition, some 5,000 adults are believed to have suffered permanent injury, a generalized neuritis that is invariably painful and sometimes disabling.

Now, seven years after the disaster, Grünenthal's executives have been...

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