Information document 'System for Thalidomide Education and Prescribing Safety'

1999 in New Jersey

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

STEPS pack (System for Thalidomide Education and Prescribing Safety) - information about avoiding foetal exposure to thalidomide for prescribers and patients. Contains literature, surveys and consent forms.

Thalidomide is a drug with a chequered history. It is now marketed as a treatment for leprosy, HIV infections and some bone marrow cancers. Thalidomide was given to pregnant women in the late 1950s and early 1960s to ease morning sickness and aid sleep. The drug caused thousands of serious birth defects worldwide. Several hundred occurred in the UK. Babies were born with under-developed or missing limbs. The drug was withdrawn in 1962. Those affected by the drug have since fought for compensation.

The drug is now used under strictly controlled conditions. Celgene Corporation made and donated this example to the Science Museum’s collections. The company had Thalidomide approved for use by the American Food and Drug Administration in 1998. The corporation issued this pack that year to ensure doctors administered the drug correctly. It states all patients receiving Thalidomide must be registered with Celgene, undertake pregnancy tests before, during and after treatment, and use two forms of contraception at all times during treatment.


Materia Medica & Pharmacology
Object Number:
cardboard and paper (fibre product)
information form
  • visual and verbal communication
Celgene Corporation

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