All you need is law

In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s the german company GrĂ¼nenthal Chemie marketed the use of thalidomide under the name contergan as a medication useful against morning sickness, sleeplessness and anxiety. It was also used as a sedative for pregnant women, although it was never tested on this particular group. The use of contergan led to numerous miscarriages and birth defects, in particular severe deformations of the limbs. The reason was an enantiomeric impurity, which was difficult to detect with the means of the time. There were 10,000 victims in 46 countries. It took a long time and numerous law suits to get at least financial compensation for the victims.

A man with deformed arms walks up the staircase of the metro station Eberswalder Strasse in Berlin. By pure coincidence, the sign above the entrance has an advertisement for a law firm “all you need is law”

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