Thalidomide 'was developed by the Nazis'


9 Feb 2009, 1121 hrs IST, PTI

LONDON: Thalidomide, the morning sickness drug which caused many women to give birth to deformed babies, was first developed by the Nazis under
Adolf Hitler as part of their chemical weapons programme, according to a new study.

It was earlier thought to have been invented in the early 1950s by German firm Chemie Grunenthal, before its use by pregnant woman worldwide from 1957 to 1961, leading to the birth of 10,000 babies in Europe and Africa with deformities.

Now, a team has claimed that thalidomide was tested on prisoners at concentration camps in Germany by the Nazis to determine whether it could act as an antidote to nerve gas in case of a chemical warfare.

According to Dr Martin Johnson, the director of the Thalidomide trust, who led the team, thalidomide was developed by Third Reich scientist, Otto Ambros, as an antidote to nerve toxins before he went to Grunenthal after the war.

Dr Johnson was quoted by 'The Times' as saying: "It is now appearing increasingly likely that thalidomide was the last war crime of the Nazis."


Moreover, Grunenthal's 1954 thalidomide patent also indicated that the morning sickness drug had already been tested on humans before official tests began worldwide for its use, he said.

Meanwhile, Carlos De Napoli, an Argentinian author of a upcoming book on Nazi scientists has claimed to have found a document which reveals thalidomide has its origins in Hitler's laboratories in Germany.

"There is absolutely no doubt of the Nazi development of and experimentation with thalidomide in the World War two camps," he was quoted as saying.