History of Thalidomide in Brasil based on the print media (1959-1962)

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The article reviews and discusses the events surrounding the thalidomide tragedy based on news from the print media. Newspapers published in the city of Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil, from 1959 to 1962 were investigated. The analysis highlights the historical context that predates the arrival of the drug in Brazil, with emphasis on some aspects of the pharmaceutical industry in the country. It provides information on the Instituto Pinheiros Produtos Terapêuticos, the main laboratory that produced and marketed the drug in the country, and demonstrates how newspapers presented the first news about the dangers of thalidomide. Furthermore, it indicates what actions were taken to withdraw the drug from the Brazilian market, as the drug was widely marketed in the country at that time. It concludes that the print media reported the event without urgency and without featuring it on the front pages of the newspapers. The article concludes that thalidomide ended up circulating widely throughout Brazil and suggests that the first generation of thalidomide babies must be greater than is commonly supposed.




Leandro, J. A., & Santos, F. L. (2015). History of Thalidomide in Brasil based on the print media (1959-1962). Saude e Sociedade, 24(3), 991–1005. https://doi.org/10.1590/S0104-12902015130976

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