Medical Myths: Thalidomide

February 26, 2010 at 3:52 pm (Bad Science) (, , , , , , , , )

Thalidomide, Animal Testing, And Investigative Journalism

There are some apparently misreported ‘facts’ about thalidomide that seem to keep cropping up – for example, that the teratogenic effects were covered up by the medical profession, that it was investigative journalists that uncovered the scandal of the purported cover-up, and that thalidomide proves that animal testing is useless.

Animal rights protesters have claimed that thalidomide is a good example of the uselessness of animal testing. Here are a couple of quotes: “one must never forget that Thalidomide, was fully tested on rats“; “Thalidamide was passed for use after tests on rodents, so animals are unrelable as a guide to human biology, different species react differently

Thalidomide was indeed passed for use after being tested on rodents. However, it was not “fully tested” in the sense that it was not (as far as I can tell) tested on pregnant animals before being prescribed to pregnant women. It is not true that thalidomide is a good example of animals being “unreliable as a guide to human biology”, because when the drug was tested in pregnant animals (after the dangerous side-effects had been observed in humans) teratogenic effects were seen.

There is comment on the failure to test thalidomide in pregnant animals here: understandinganimalresearch and here: spiked-online. Meanwhile, there is a claim here that thalidomide was tested on pregnant animals prior to being approve and this book makes the same claim: Google Books. [Note: like the BBC, Stuff And Nonsense is not responsible for content on external websites. The author does not endorse any of the websites linked to above.]

It has been difficult to find reliable information on whether thalidomide was tested on pregnant animals prior to approval. While it is difficult to ‘prove’ a negative – that thalidomide was never tested on pregnant animals prior to approval – it should not be as difficult to demonstrate that it was (if this were the case).

Yet, the best that this website can come up with seems to be an argument from personal incredulity: “It has been claimed that thalidomide was never tested on pregnant animals before it was given to humans, although this is unlikely. Animal experiments were standard practice.”

Of course, animal experimentation being standard practice means nothing here – it does not seem that anyone disputes that thalidomide was tested on animals. The dispute is over whether thalidomide was tested on pregnant animals. And testing new drugs on pregnant animals does not seem to have been standard practice prior to thalidomide. This letter to the BMJ points out that: “Thalidomide was never tested in pregnant animals before its use in patients.

After the first publication describing fetal abnormalities in babies whose mothers had taken thalidomide during pregnancy the drug was shown to be teratogenic in rats, mice, hamsters, rabbits, and three species of monkeys. The mandatory teratogenic tests on potential medicines instituted by the regulatory authorities as a result of the thalidomide disaster prevented a similar tragedy with the oral acne treatment retinoin.”

So mandatory teratogenice testing apparently does not pre-date the approval of thalidomide – it came about because of what happened when thalidomide was introduced.

There is also the use of thalidomide as an example of medical conspiracy: here, we have an example of somebody on an investigative journalism course “suggesting that thalidomide was another example of the medical profession covering stuff up”.

This alleged ‘cover-up’ apparently didn’t extend to the Australian obstetrician William McBride and the German pediatrician Widukind Lenz. The James Lind Library has a copy of the letter sent to the Lancet by McBride: here.

If the medical profession were writing letters to medical journals pointing out the increased incidence in birth defects that they perceived among pregnant women taking thalidomide and medical journals were printing them, then it’s not really something that could be described as a ‘medical profession cover-up’ in my opinion.

There is a piece on the BBC website that discusses thalidomide and refers to the role played by Lenz and a lawyer (Karl Schulte-Hillen), while Wikipedia also has a page on the drug that includes detail of the discovery of teratogenic effects: here. The effects of thalidomide were reported by the medical profession, not by investegative journalists. (The Sunday Times did, however, run a campaign for compensation for UK victims.)

Conclusion

Clearly, some people are making claims that they cannot support. I tried to find out the truth regarding the testing of thalidomide, but almost every claim seemed to lead to a book – or to a paper published long ago and unavailable on the internet. This lack of access to reliable material makes it difficult to discern the truth of this case.

Thankfully, more modern controversies are easier to investigate – the truth of the media’s MMR hoax, for example, can be uncovered more easily than the truth of the thalidomide scandal, partly because so much information is publicly available and easily accessible via the web.

Update, 24th August 2011

Covered here by the Science Based Medicine blog.

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64 Comments

  1. noodlemaz said,

    Lovely, one of my bug-bears for many years, the ‘animal rights’ lot trying to get the thalidomide dabacle on their side.
    Kudos.

  2. Cybertiger said,

    Wonder woman and female GP, Professor Dame* Trish Greenhalgh thinks the ‘case series’ report is a potentially important warning of disasters like thalidomide.

    http://www.bmj.com/cgi/eletters/340/feb02_4/c644#231095

    Strange then that the professor should have so systematically misrepresented the paper by Wakefield et al,

    http://briandeer.com/mmr/lancet-greenhalgh.htm

    http://www.bmj.com/cgi/eletters/340/feb02_4/c644#230993

    * a girly knighthood is a virtual certainty in view of the deceitful but successful trashing of Andrew Wakefield et al’s paper.

  3. Cybertiger said,

    Wot’s a dabacle?

  4. Cybertiger said,

    Strange that a drug developed to treat symptoms in pregnancy was not pre-tested on pregnant anything and even before all the hooha from animal rightists.

    PS. Can jdc253 please fish another of my comments out of the tabby-mangler

    ADMIN: your comment was picked up by the spam filter due to the number of links and has now been fished out. I’m not sure why you were so keen for your views on Trish Greenhalgh to be made public, but there you go.

  5. Anthony said,

    Lenz and McBride do not the medical profession make. There was a cover-up by the company (starting even earlier with the reports of neuropathy) and the company included medics. Your point stands that it was medics who spotted the problem.

  6. Cybertiger said,

    “Thankfully, more modern controversies are easier to investigate – the truth of the media’s MMR hoax, for example, can be uncovered more easily than the truth of the thalidomide scandal, partly because so much information is publicly available and easily accessible via the web.”

    Wot a larf! I thought Wakefield was responsible for the MMR debacle- he certainly took the wrap for it. Are you not being a tad deceitful, jdc532?

  7. Cybertiger said,

    I really don’t think Anthony ‘blacktoad’ Cox knows his silly dabacles from his hoaxes.

  8. jdc325 said,

    Thanks for the comments all.

    Cybertiger – I find your comments regarding gender odd. You seem to be very keen on emphasising that Trish Greenhalgh is female, which would seem to me to be irrelevant.

    “Strange that a drug developed to treat symptoms in pregnancy was not pre-tested on pregnant anything and even before all the hooha from animal rightists.”
    It is my understanding that the use of thalidomide to treat nausea in pregnant women was “off-label” and that it was developed as a non-barbiturate sedative for sleeplessness.

    “I thought Wakefield was responsible for the MMR debacle- he certainly took the wrap for it. Are you not being a tad deceitful, jdc532?”
    No – I have been consistent in my condemnation of the media’s role in the MMR hoax. The media’s distorted and one-sided reporting of MMR does not absolve Wakefield of guilt for his part in the affair, but I certainly think that their reporting was irresponsible and largely to blame for the subsequent drop in MMR take-up.

  9. Cybertiger said,

    “I’m not sure why you were so keen for your views on Trish Greenhalgh to be made public, but there you go.”

    What do you mean: explain yourself, jdc253.

  10. jdc325 said,

    More on Thalidomide: an old post from Black Triangle.

  11. jdc325 said,

    @Cybertiger: You seem to be very keen on emphasising that Trish Greenhalgh is female, which would seem to me to be irrelevant. Will that explanation suffice?

  12. Anthony said,

    Regarding off-label use.

    Thalidomide was directly promoted for use in pregnancy, without any evidence for safety. There was arguably enough known about placenta at the time to drawn a conclusion that thalidomide would pass to the unborn child.

    Interestingly, the reason McBride spotted the association between thalidomide was because he followed the advice of some pharmaceutical representatives to prescribe the drug to a small number of pregnant women. When a few months later they gave birth to deformed children his suspicion was raised. So on one hand he is to be commended for his awareness and pursuit of the issue, he also demonstrates the dangers of being led by the industry.

    It’s also worth remembering what he got up to later….

    http://www.blacktriangle.org/blog/?p=1848

  13. Anthony said,

    Dr Mark ‘Cybtertiger’ Struthers is evidence enough that wide variation exists in the medical profession.

  14. Oliver Dowding said,

    “JDC It is my understanding that the use of thalidomide to treat nausea in pregnant women was “off-label” and that it was developed as a non-barbiturate sedative for sleeplessness.”

    Does anyone know what percentage of all prescriptions for drugs are prescribed for some illness or condition for which the drug was never tested or cleared for use?

  15. jdc325 said,

    An excellent question. I find off-label prescribing worrying for a number of reasons. I think this paper: Off-label Prescribing Among Office-Based Physicians may be of interest to you. The authors think that: “Efforts should be made to scrutinize underevaluated off-label prescribing that compromises patient safety or represents wasteful medication use.”

    In 2001, there were an estimated 150 million (95% confidence interval, 127-173 million) off-label mentions (21% of overall use) among the sampled medications. Off-label use was most common among cardiac medications (46%, excluding antihyperlipidemic and antihypertensive agents) and anticonvulsants (46%), whereas gabapentin (83%) and amitriptyline hydrochloride (81%) had the greatest proportion of off-label use among specific medications. Most off-label drug mentions (73%; 95% confidence interval, 61%-84%) had little or no scientific support. Although several functional classes were associated with increased off-label use (P<.05), few other drug characteristics predicted off-label prescription.

  16. Cybertiger said,

    “You seem to be very keen on emphasising that Trish Greenhalgh is female, which would seem to me to be irrelevant. Will that explanation suffice?

    Trisha Greenhalgh is a girly! A very weak explanation, jdc523. But then, at the best of times, you are never very convincing. Your explanation does not suffice: what did you really mean, jdc352?

  17. Cybertiger said,

    “So on one hand he is to be commended for his awareness and pursuit of the issue, he also demonstrates the dangers of being led by the industry.”

    Eh, Blacktoad? You really are a weirdo.

  18. Anthony said,

    So Struthers, you’d prescribe a new drug with no safety record in pregnancy to women at the behest of a pharma drug rep?

  19. Cybertiger said,

    So Anthony, do you think I’d trust a pharma-rep-toad any more than I’d trust a black-pharmaco-vigilant-toad like you?

  20. draust said,

    Just saw in the Guardian last week this obit for John Prevett, an actuary who was part of the campaign to get proper compensation for the thalidomide victims in the UK.

  21. James Hayton said,

    nice post- just wondering where the animal rights people have been making the statements you mention in the first 2 paragraphs?

    I’m writing finishing up a post I’ve had on standby for a while, on the chirality of the thalidomide molecule, as I think the science behind it is pretty interesting.

  22. Cybertiger said,

    “We are in very big trouble.”

    So said the Bad Science guru, Dr Benjamin Goldacre in his Guardian bad science column this morning.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/feb/26/bad-science-homeopathy-trials-drugs

    Of course, Goldacre is right. And the good doctor of bad science was right about the
    Wakefield paper, the paper that blew a warning whistle over the safety of MMR – much as McBride did over Thalidomide in a letter to the Lancet in 1962.

    http://www.jameslindlibrary.org/trial_records/20th_Century/1960s/mcbride/mcbride_whole.html

    Goldacre said,

    “… people periodically come up to me and say, isn’t it funny how that Wakefield MMR
    paper turned out to be Bad Science after all? And I say: no. The paper always was and still remains a perfectly good small case series report, but it was systematically misrepresented as being more than that, by media that are incapable of interpreting and reporting scientific data.”

    But Trisha Greenhalgh, the Queen of Evidence-Based Practice and Policy, disagreed with Guru Ben.

    http://briandeer.com/mmr/lancet-greenhalgh.htm

    So who are we to believe and who can we really trust? There is obviously a crisis of trust: Guru Ben is right, we are in very big trouble.

  23. Cybertiger said,

    jdc352 wittered,

    “I’m not sure why you were so keen for your views on Trish Greenhalgh to be made public, but there you go.”

    I’m still waiting for a a believable explanation, jdc325.

  24. Anthony said,

    Dr Struthers (Cybertiger),

    I think Goldcare was wrong in 2005 when he wrote that,, because there was already evidence that something fishy was going on in 2004, but it was only in later years that we knew the full extent of the problems with the paper and Wakefield’s science in general.

    Ben has a particular view on the media’s role in the MMR hoax. I agree with him in large part, but would also assign more responsibility to Wakefield than he does. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Ben says the 1998 Lancet paper “was systematically misrepresented [...], by media that are incapable of interpreting and reporting scientific data”.

    I’d say the 1998 paper “was systematically misrepresented [...], by Wakefield himself and by media that are incapable of interpreting and reporting scientific data”.

    However, attempting to recruit Goldacre to your lunatic cause by using that statement in this manner is intellectually dishonest.Not that I am surprised.

  25. Cybertiger said,

    Anthony, did you read Professor Greenhalgh’s critical appraisal of the Wakefield paper?

    http://briandeer.com/mmr/lancet-greenhalgh.htm

    Would you care to comment on the intellectual honesty of that expert appraisal?

  26. blacktriangle said,

    Seems fair comment to me. What’s your beef with it?

  27. Cybertiger said,

    blacktriangle PhD has as much difficulty with the concepts of honesty and fairness as Queen Trisha OBE MD FRCP FRCGP. These are truly scary primitives.

    PS. I recommend reading Will Hutton’s recent article on fairness at work …

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/feb/26/capitalism-fairness-work-reward

    “The primitives knew that if you don’t run an economy and society fairly it quickly becomes dysfunctional …”

    Dysfunction now rules the state we’re in … and as Ben Goldacre says today, “we are in very big trouble”. Perhaps Dr Ben is being intellectually dishonest: what say you, Dr Anthony Blacktriangle?

  28. blacktriangle said,

    I find it hard to follow your non sequitur manner of argument. You are all over the place.

  29. Cybertiger said,

    Like many primitive toad like creatures, black or otherwise, Anthony is a slow cerebrator. Of course, that doesn’t stop him hopping around madly with his mates Ben and Trisha – like frogs in a black box.

  30. jdc325 said,

    jdc352 wittered,

    “I’m not sure why you were so keen for your views on Trish Greenhalgh to be made public, but there you go.”

    I’m still waiting for a a believable explanation, jdc325.

    I’m not sure why you don’t find my explanation credible.

    You made repeated references to Greenhalgh’s gender for no discernable reason. I found this odd. In fact, I’d like to ask: why were you so keen to state, iterate and reiterate her gender? What does relevance does her being female have?

  31. Mojo said,

    Speaking of boxes, where’s Erwin Schrödinger when you need him?

  32. Cybertiger said,

    Oh dear, you are a tiresome prat, jdc253 … and more than a tad dishonest if I may be so bold.

    Of course, what jdc235 really believes is that the medical serf should doff his cap to the likes of the Queen of Evidence-Based Medicine … whatever rubbish the fearsome lady might care to write … or else.

    What ‘else’ might happen to the non-cap doffing serf? Pray tell me, jdc253?

  33. AndyN said,

    It’s funny really, I generally notice that most posters of comments here offer well written constructive insights to the articles. That’s probably why I admit to getting slightly confused when reading Cybertiger’s comments. They really don’t make any sense at all and have similar qualities to a car alarm; repetitious, headache inducing, and no one seems to ever pay any attention to them.

    Try and be constructive Cybertiger. I believe jdc325 has answered your question. You seem to be seeing a hidden meaning where there is none. Care to clarify?

  34. Cybertiger said,

    I agree, AndyN: there’s absolutely no meaning to jdc235, hidden or otherwise.

  35. Benji said,

    Mr Struthers really is a troll of the highest, most persistent order.

    Still, I guess you’ve got enough time on your hands these days.

  36. Nash said,

    A good book to read about Thalidomide is ‘Dark Remedy’ by Rock Brynner and Trent Stephens.
    It details the history of the drug. The court case in the UK. How it works and why it can cause deformity in embryoes. Also it goes into other uses eg it is a complete cure for leprosy.

  37. Chris said,

    I should note that Dr. Frances Kelsey is also a woman.

  38. Cybertiger said,

    Being ambitious, dishonest, ethically and morally bankrupt … and stupid …. while still being female …

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madeleine_Albright

    … doesn’t stop a girly attaining high office … getting a PhD …. or gaining a damehood …

  39. Cybertiger said,

    I’ve just read this review of ‘Dark Remedy’ about thalidomide,

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/cdp/member-reviews/A3R1H5TTKDMDU7/ref=cm_cr_dp_auth_rev?ie=UTF8&sort_by=MostRecentReview

    “Until I reached chapter 5 on the effect of Thalidomide in Great Britain I was impressed by how well written and readable this book was and took what it said at face value … Once again the quality of the historical research was positively shoddy and there is a certain element of vindictiveness about some of comments in the book. One fears that expressing this vindictiveness might have overtaken any desire to present the truth.”

    I don’t think I’ll be getting or reading this book. In the same way, as a doctor and GP, I’m so disappointed in Trisha Greenhalgh … and it has nothing to do with the fact that she’s a girly … although, somehow, strangely, ridiculously, I expected more of a woman in high office. The truth is that Professor Trisha Greenhalgh has brought the medical profession into disrepute … and that’s an error that’s unforgivable, man or girl.

  40. Cybertiger said,

    In her critical appraisal Professor Greenhalgh outrageously misrepresented the Wakefield et al paper.

    http://briandeer.com/mmr/lancet-greenhalgh.htm

    Can anyone think of any good reasons why the Professor of Primary Health Care and
    Director of the Unit for Evidence-Based Practice and Policy at University College, London, should get away with such behaviour?

    And what has this all got to do with Thalidomide? Professor Trisha Greenhalgh has written a book called, ‘How to read a paper’, the basics of evidence-based medicine’. I have a copy and I expect Anthony Blacktriangle has too – maybe even the Third Edition. Have you read it, Tony?

    On page 52, section 3.7, she writes,

    “Clinical situations in which a case report or case series is an appropriate type of study include examples as follows:

    “A doctor notices that two babies born in his hospital have absent limbs (phocomelia). Both mothers had taken a new drug (thalidomide) in early pregnancy. The doctor wishes to alert his colleagues worldwide to the possibility of drug-related damage as quickly as possible.”

    In parentheses, Professor Greenhalgh says that “anyone who thinks ‘quick and
    dirty’ case reports are never scientifically justified should remember this example.”

    Greenhalgh seems to have forgotten that the Wakefield paper was a case series study and an early report (warning) on the possiblility of a link between autism, inflammatory bowel disease and the MMR. Nothing more, nothing proven. Despite being retracted by the Lancet, If anyone would like to honestly reappraise the Wakefield et al paper, they still can, on:

    http://www.theoneclickgroup.co.uk/documents/ME-CFS_docs/The%20Wakefield%20Paper,%20THE%20LANCET,%20Vol%20351,%20February%2028,%201998.pdf

    Please tell me why Trish should get away with what she’s done? I know jdc532 will deny her femininity as being irrelevant and of course he’s right. Then why should she get away with it?

  41. Anthony said,

    Why on earth do you go on about other people bringing medicine into disrepute?

    http://www.bedfordshire-news.co.uk/News/Suspended-doctor-starts-battle-to-clear-his-name.htm

  42. Cybertiger said,

    And what about Greenhalgh, Tony? What about her deceits? Do you think it is fair for her to escape censure for misrepresenting the Wakefield paper? But then you don’t have a great record in appreciating ethical and moral decency … or even the simplicity of distinguishing right from wrong, do you, Tony?

  43. Benji said,

    Cybertiger,

    Why don’t you, just for once, say what you mean. In simple non flowery prose.

    What are you getting at re Tony? In fairness to you, your above post (40) is the closest I’ve ever seen you get to being coherent.

    That and your statement in Andy’s link anyway.

  44. Cybertiger said,

    Well, jdc352, can you not think of any good reasons why the lady Prof should not be censured for her major indiscretions over at Chez Deer Brian?

    http://briandeer.com/mmr/lancet-greenhalgh.htm

    I know that Anthony Blacktoad can’t think of anything, in fact I know he can’t think at all. But come on, jdc532, you must be able to think of something good about the lady.

  45. Anthony said,

    Report her to the GMC Struthers.

    Put up or shut up.

  46. Anthony said,

    I immediately thought of Cybertiddles when I read this:

    Radovan Karadzic himself now accuses ITN and by association the Guardian and me of fabricating the gulag of concentration camps that we revealed in 1992, after meeting the then Bosnian Serb president.

    We are accused by Karadzic of a “media conspiracy” which has somehow led to the discovery of mass graves with real human remains in them, and thousands of bereaved real-life families.
    [...]
    As with Holocaust revisionists who talk about the thermal capacity of bricks at Auschwitz, the argument revolved around minutiae – it was all about which side of a pole wire was attached.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/mar/01/radovan-karadzic-bosnia-war-crimes-the-hague

  47. Cybertiger said,

    jdc235′s silence is so revealing … as is Tony’s thoughtless outburst.

  48. Cybertiger said,

    From Edward Yazbak, an American Paediatrician, in the BMJ today – after Greenhalgh’s appalling article,

    http://www.bmj.com/cgi/eletters/340/feb02_4/c644#232128

    “Now if I had to describe in one word my perception of the GMC hearings, that word would have to be “OUTRAGEOUS”. What is happening to Professor Walker-Smith, Professor Simon Murch and Dr. Andrew Wakefield, three dedicated and wonderful physicians is unjust, unfair and unforgivable.”

    Hear, hear, Dr Yazbak. Care to make a comment, jdc352?

  49. Cybertiger said,

    Another one lost in the tabby-scrambler: can you hoik it out, jdc532?

  50. Cybertiger said,

    While we’re on the topic of Lady Greenhalgh and ever so dodgy appraisals, could someone interpret – ie critically appraise – what the lady meant in the following paragraph from her recent BMJ article after the GMC verdict on Wakefield et al?

    http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/340/feb02_4/c644

    “An academic journal is not a collection of blank pages on to which authors inscribe important scientific facts as they discover them. Rather, science is made and shaped as authors consider the declared areas of interest, impact factors, and instructions for authors of candidate journals for their work and as the papers they submit clear the successive hurdles of eligibility screening, selection of peer reviewers, responding to reviewers’ comments, statistical approval, technical editing, and distribution of press releases. My own collection of rejection slips from journals with a high impact factor represents research that could have become important scientific facts but that turned out to be findings of marginal significance in publications to which neither politicians nor journalists subscribe.”

    I am not a scientist nor a doctor who gazes down from the rarified heights of a high chair in academe … so I simply don’t understand what the lady is on about.

  51. Cybertiger said,

    And another tabby effort has just been lost. Can you do the honours, jdc523?

  52. jdc325 said,

    Well, jdc352, can you not think of any good reasons why the lady Prof should not be censured for her major indiscretions over at Chez Deer Brian?

    http://briandeer.com/mmr/lancet-greenhalgh.htm

    I can’t think of any good reason why Greenhalgh should be censured. Please can you explain what these supposed “indiscretions” are?

  53. jdc325 said,

    jdc235’s silence is so revealing … as is Tony’s thoughtless outburst.

    My silence is not “revealing” so much as a reflection of the limited amount of time I have to engage with commenters on the internet. I have two jobs and cannot access the internet at either workplace.

  54. Cybertiger said,

    “I can’t think of any good reason why Greenhalgh should be censured”, jdc235 pathetically wibbled.

    And I always thought you were synaptically challenged … even Tony Toad thought the “minutiae” of Trisha’s indiscretions were GMC referable.

  55. jdc325 said,

    “…even Tony Toad thought the “minutiae” of Trisha’s indiscretions were GMC referable.”
    I think you may have misunderstood Anthony’s comment.

  56. Cybertiger said,

    “I think you may have misunderstood Anthony’s comment.”

    Your naivety is really sweet.

  57. Anthony said,

    Yazbak is the person who defended Alan Yurko, a man convicted of the manslaughter of his own child, see here:

    http://www.bmj.com/cgi/eletters/328/7442/719#74295

    and here:

    http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/comment/yurko.htm

  58. Cybertiger said,

    Oh Tony Toad, you’re a contemptible rsole and a ratbag completely beyond redemption.

  59. colmcq said,

    *munches popcorn*

  60. Cybertiger said,

    The medical evidence would suggest that colmcq suffers from Fat Bastard Syndrome (FBS),

    http://www.drbriffa.com/blog/2010/03/01/cinema-popcorn-highlighted-as-a-nutritional-hazard-and-how-to-avoid-it/

    I suspect that colmcq is also a nutter (nuts, nuts, whole hazel nuts) and is highly likely to be prescribed Olanzapine. Are you popping your tabs, colmcq?

  61. silphion said,

    Hi jdc325,
    I too am under the impression that no tests on pregnant animals were performed before the crisis. However, I do not think this make thinks much different.
    I think we can agree that it isn’t the result of a single or even multiple test on an animal model that can give me the needed degree of certainty about the safety of a drug.
    And in fact, after the thalidomide scandal, many different pregnant models were used to evaluate the drug. To cite the results of only one model, namely that on dogs, as a proof that animal testing would have prevented the use of the drug, is a weak argument, and a deceiving one, because it doesn’t cite the other, different results.
    As the classics of toxicology state: “[I]n approximately 10 strains of rats, 15 strains of mice, eleven breeds of rabbits, 2 breeds of dogs, 3 strains of hamsters, 8 species of primates, and in other varied species as cats, armadillos, guinea pigs, swine, and ferrets in which thalidomide has been tested, teratogenic effects have been induced only occasionally”. (Schardein, J. [1976]: Drugs as Teratogens Cleveland, OH: CRS Press); and: “An unexpected finding was that the mouse and rat were resistant, the rabbit and hamster variably responsive, and certain strains of primates were sensitive to thalidomide developmental toxicity. Different strains of the same species of animals were also found to have highly variable sensitivity to thalidomide. Factors such as differences in absorption, distribution, biotransformation, and placental transfer have been ruled out as causes of the variability in species and strain sensitivity” (Manson, J.M. and Wise, L.D. [1993]: “Teratogens”, in Amdur, M.O., Doull, J., Klaassen, C. (eds), Casarett and Doull’s Toxicology, 4th edition, New York: McGraw Hill).
    We definetly cannot be sure that had these results been available before the off-label use of thalidomide, the drug would have been retired
    Cheers

  62. continuing medical education in India said,

    Thats a good investigation. Its tim to publish older medical journals and research on the internet

  63. The Trouble With Spiked « Stuff And Nonsense said,

    [...] 4. Rob Lyons appears to be under the impression that I am against animal testing and that this is my motivation for the post I have written on Spiked. Just to be absolutely clear – I am not against animal testing in drug development and do not believe that the co-option of the thalidomide case by animal rights activists to be justified. Here’s an old blogpost I wrote about thalidomide. [...]

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    I offer a new cure-all for all issues, legal, medical, and situational.
    It’s called HINDSIGHT. HINDSIGHT is the wonder cure for everything. If the pedestrian knew that the bus was going to hit him then he would not have stepped off the curb.
    At that time the common belief was that the Placenta Barrier did not allow drugs etc to pass to the fetus. Thalidamide showed that it could. But.. With HINDSIGHT we could say that the researches SHOULD have known this and therefore by passing the drug they are culpable.

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