BERLIN (AP) — The German manufacturer of a notorious drug that caused thousands of babies to be born with shortened arms and legs, or no limbs at all, issued its first ever apology Friday — 50 years after pulling the drug off the market.
Gruenenthal Group’s chief executive said the company wanted to apologize to mothers who took the drug during the 1950s and 1960s and to their children who suffered congenital birth defects as a result.
“We ask for forgiveness that for nearly 50 years we didn’t find a way of reaching out to you from human being to human being,”Harald Stock said. “We ask that you regard our long silence as a sign of the shock that your fate caused in us.”
Thalidomide is still sold today, but as a treatment for multiple myeloma, a bone marrow cancer and leprosy. It is also being studied to see if it might be useful for other conditions including AIDS, arthritis and other cancers.