Should women keep in mind the lessons of Thalidomide when listening to ads about GARDASIL®?

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It was developed by the German pharmaceutical company Grunenthal and hit the market in October 1957. Two years later, it was approved for use in Canada. The United States held off — the Food and Drug Administration demanded more data on the drug’s safety before it would agree to approve it.

As the FDA waited for the results of studies into thalidomide, reports began surfacing in Europe of unusual side effects experienced by people taking the drug. Among them was peripheral neuropathy, or damage to the nervous system that serves limbs and organs. This can lead to pain, numbness and gait imbalance.

There were also more disturbing side effects reported. Women were giving birth to babies with severe defects like abnormally short limbs, flipper-like arms and toes growing out of the hips.

It’s estimated that as many as 12,000 babies were born with deformities linked to thalidomide. By August 1962, at least 42 were born in Canada. A task force established by the federal government later pegged the number of Canadian children born with thalidomide-induced deformities at 115.

The German government ordered thalidomide off the market by the end of November 1961, against the wishes of Grunenthal. But the drug remained available in Canada until March 1962.


As I listen and see the ads aimed at young women I can not help but think that some one should remember the lessons of Thalidomide when the drug companies also told young women it too was a wonder drug and ever so safe

—————– How many people over the years have drug companies killed maimed or deformed ?


Comment from Leslie

Remembering Herstory

Blog site is dubious – but have heard comments linking Thalidomide to the Gardasil travesty in other circles. Thought it might be something to think about.


Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.