British Medical Journal, Vol. 1, No. 5242, p. 12.
this child's life may depend on the safety of Distaval
Consider the possible outcome in a case such as this -- had the bottle contained a conventional barbiturate. Year by year, the barbiturates claim a mounting toll of childhood victims. Yet it is simple enough to prescribe a sedative and hypnotic which is both highly effective . . . and outstandingly safe... 'Distaval' (thalidomide) has been prescribed for over three years in this country, where the accidental poisonings rate is notoriously high; but there is no case on record in which even gross overdosage with 'Distaval' has had harmful results. Put your mind at rest. Depend on the safety of DISTAVAL ~ trade mark
As a hypnotic at bedtime: ADULTS: 50 mg. to 200 mg. INFANTS AND CHILDREN: 25 mg. to 100 mg.   As a daytime sedative: ADULTS: 25 mg. two or three times daily. INFANTS AND CHILDREN: Up to 25 mg., according to age, one to three times daily.
Distaval (25 mg. tablets).   Distaval Forte (100 mg. tablets). Basic cost to N.H.S. of 12 tablets from dispensing pack of one hundred -- 1/- or 2/8d. according to strength.   Distaval Suspension (50 mg. per 5 ml.) Basic cost to N.H.S. 3/- per bottle of 60 ml.
REFERENCES:   Practitioner, 1959, 183, 57.   J. clin. exp. Psychopath., 1959, 20, 243.   J. Coll. gen. Pract., 1958, 1, 398.   Brit. med. J., 1959, 2, 635.   Med. Wld. (Lond.), 1960, 93, 26.   Brit. J. Pharmacol., 1960, 15, 111.
DCBL ~ The Distillers Company (Biochemicals) Limited
Broadway House, The Broadway, Wimbledon, London, S.W.19 Telephone: LIBerty 6600   Owners of the trade mark 'Distaval'
Distaval thalidomide advertisement, circa 1961.|
A complete sedative and hypnotic range -- in a single preparation.
That is Distaval ... the safe day-time sedative which is equally safe in hypnotic doses by night.
Distaval is especially suitable for infants, the aged, and patients under severe emotional stress.
DISTAVAL ~ trade mark thalidomide
sedative and hypnotic
tablets of 25 mg.
Fred Lamb, a Richardson-Merrell lawyer, has said of Frances Kelsey,
the FDA scientist who stopped them from marketing thalidomide:
She's a hero. If it hadn't been for her, we'd be out of business.
– John Braithwaite, Corporate Crime in the pharmaceutical industry, page 298.
So inadequate was the international communication among drug regulatory agencies that companies could for some time isolate bad news about a drug to the country where the untoward research appeared. Hence several hundred thalidomide babies were born in Japan during the period of over a year when sales continued there after the product had been withdrawn from the market in Europe. In Italy thalidomide remained on the market for ten months after withdrawal in the rest of Europe, and in Canada for three months.|
The more than fifty different trade names under which thalidomide was marketed in different countries was the single most important factor in delaying an immediate halt to sales. Thalidomide, which had been marketed as Contergan in Germany, was sold in Sweden as Neurosedyn and Noxidyn. When thalidomide was withdrawn in Sweden, the authorities did not warn mothers against using pills already released. Consequently at least five babies were born needlessly crippled. The Swedish manufacturer of thalidomide allowed the product to be sold in Argentina for three months after it had been withdrawn in Sweden.
Investigative journalists played a more important role than health regulatory authorities in many parts of the world in saving children from thalidomide.
An alert Brazilian reporter had a suspicion that thalidomide was being sold in pharmacies in his own large city, São Paulo, because he had suddenly become aware of numbers of limbless newborns. Upon inquiry, however, he was told by authorities that thalidomide was not being sold in São Paulo. He persisted in his questioning, and discovered that thalidomide was indeed being widely sold but that it was known to the public and the authorities only by its brand names: Slip, Ondasil, Verdil, Sedin, and Seralis. When this was made known, 2.5 million tablets containing thalidomide in pharmacies and pharmaceutical factories in Sao Paulo were confiscated by officials. Countless children and their parents must always be grateful to that inquisitive reporter.
– John Braithwaite, Corporate Crime in the pharmaceutical industry, pages 65-67.
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