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To the Editor:—
In the June 30, 1962, issue of The Journal (180:1106), there appears a special communication, "A Study of the German Outbreak of Phocomelia," by Helen B. Taussig, M.D., on which we would like to comment.This relates to the statement beginning on page 1108: "Thalidomide is a synthetic drug which, as the story is told in West Germany, was first conceived and made by Ciba and found by them to have no effect on animals;..." The story heard by Dr. Taussig is not accurate, since Ciba neither conceived nor made thalidomide and was never associated with its clinical investigation.Dr. Taussig has also commented briefly in The Journal article, but more extensively in her testimony before the Celler Committee and in her article in the current issue of Scientific American, that glutethimide (Doriden) is similar in molecular structure to thalidomide. Attention is called to the formulae
Yonkman FF. Thalidomide and Related Compounds. JAMA. 1962;181(7):654. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050330084024