Sunday Times Magazine covers the tragic Spanish story

2015-05-06 12:14:53
Whilst the whole Thalidomide story is a terrible tale, the Spanish story is particularly unpleasant.  On Sunday 3rd May, Caroline Scott exposed the depth and breadth of what happened.  Quoting from the piece:

"In Spain, where until 2008 the government flatly denied ever importing thalidomide, the scandal is only now fully unfolding.  Spanish babies have continued to be born with limb deficiencies and facial patterning so similar to those of the 1960s survivors...  The youngest suspected Spanish victim I have found was born in 1985.

Now, a trove of official documents, correspondence and doctors' prescriptions from 1976 and 1977 have come to light that reveal that talidomida, under a variety of brand names, was in fact widely available in Spain throughout the 1970s and perhaps even into the 1980s.  Combined with a woeful and ultimately lethal lack of proper controls and safeguarding by the Spanish government, it has resulted in several decades' more suffering and countless young victims."

Most shockingly:

"Among the damning documents seen by The Sunday Times Magazine, a letter from Grünenthal to its sister company in Madrid, dated December 21, 1961, reads: "You write that you will not disclose the reason for the sales ban to the Spanish doctors and that you will furthermore inform your external staff only partially, not fully." It points out that doctors in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland and several other countries have received letters warning them of the specific problems with thalidomide.  "But if you do not consider such measures necessary [in Spain] then we concur."

You can read the full article here.