Thalidomide : The Drug that Came Back (in Brazil and in The UK)

Yorkshire Television, First Tuesday, 1993

Decades years after Thalidomide was launched, with devastating results, it was being hailed once again as a wonder drug.

Thalidomide is prescribed in Brazil, where there are a large number of leprosy patients, but children are still being born today in South America with limb defects because of its terrible effects in pregnancy.

Related Press Releases

  • 2011 – Thalidomide returns: scandal-hit drug is now used across NHS Independent.
  • 2004 – It’s backThe Guardian.
  • 1995 – The return of thalidomide Independent.

Why Brazil has a big appetite for risky pesticides

Brazil passed the United States as the largest buyer of pesticides

Brazil became an enticing market for pesticides banned or phased out in richer nations because of health or environmental risks.

The farmers of Brazil have become the world’s top exporters of sugar, orange juice, coffee, beef, poultry and soybeans. They’ve also earned a more dubious distinction: In 2012, Brazil passed the United States as the largest buyer of pesticides.

In this farming superpower, agricultural chemicals – including paraquat – face lax regulation. And in the rural northeast, rampant use has led to sickness and violence. ”

Continue reading Why Brazil has a big appetite for risky pesticides,
by Paulo Prada on Reuters. April 2, 2015.

Brazil’s new Generation of Thalidomide Babies

The drug Thalidomide is still causing birth defects in Brazil today

Brazil's new generation of Thalidomide babies
In Brazil Thalidomide drug was re-licensed in 1965 as a treatment for skin lesions, one of the complications of leprosy

A new scientific study seen exclusively by the BBC indicates that the drug Thalidomide is still causing birth defects in Brazil today. It’s been given to people suffering from leprosy to ease some of their symptoms, and some women have taken it unaware of the risks they run when pregnant.

About ten thousand Thalidomide babies were born worldwide until the drug was withdrawn in the early 1960s. But in Brazil the drug was re-licensed in 1965 as a treatment for skin lesions, one of the complications of leprosy. Researchers now say 100 Brazilian children have injuries exactly like those caused by Thalidomide.

Read Brazil’s new generation of Thalidomide babies
by Angus Crawford, BBC Newsnight, 24 July 2013.