(April 15, 2009) The notorious drug thalidomide, which produced birth defects in the children of women who were prescribed it as a treatment for morning sickness, appears to have been developed by Nazi concentration camp doctors as a nerve gas antidote. Now it's used in "chemotherapy."
"It is now appearing increasingly likely that thalidomide was the last war crime of the Nazis," said Martin Johnson, director of the Thalidomide Trust and author of one of the papers.
Thalidomide, marketed between 1957 and 1961 by the German company Chemie Gruenenthal, caused women to give birth to children with developmental deformities including brain damage and malformed arms, legs, hands and feet.
Gruenenthal has always claimed that its scientists developed the drug independently while searching for a new antihistamine formula, and the German government has consistently refused to compensate any victims without German citizenship.
An estimated 6,000 thalidomide victims are still alive, many of whom have never received financial compensation.