Thalidomide in Brazil


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After todays class I started to think a little more about Thalidomide.  I searched it on Google and saw an article about the return of deformed babies in Brazil.  We learned today that Thalidomide, aside from its terrible side effect, can be a useful drug.  It has in fact pretty much cured leprosy.  The reason that there is a resurgence is because there are 300,000 people in Brazil who suffer from Leprosy.  So, Brazil started producing a lot of Thalidomide to treat these people.  With all the information about the dangers of Thalidomide, it is hard to believe that this is still an issue.  The article goes on to talk about how many Doctors in Brazil give out the drug without specifying the danger, and how there is a black market for the drug.  The article is really interesting and talks about what the drug does that makes it possible for the severe effects.  I thought it was shocking that many people are still ignorant to the dangers of this drug.  Making the side effects known to the public has to be a top priority because it is very sad to see that there are still people who have to live life without an arm or leg because their mothers were misinformed.

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2 Comments

Shocking - and apparently still true on thalidomide's 50th anniversary. Tragic story. Great post.

It seems quite odd to me that doctors are either so misinformed or negligent to warn their patients about negative effects. However, it does make sense about the black market- more often than not, the black market with health and medical-related issues ends up harming the recipient in some way or form. Be it acquiring prescription drugs that they should not be using or misusing them, the black market is a terrible place for people to self prescribe. Now, it is my understanding that the health care in Brazil is socialized (at least partially)-- so why is there a black market for these drugs? Usually, it means that the average person cannot get their hands on them due to shortage, legality, or doctors not prescribing it to their patients... What is the case here?

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