TELEVISION / BRIEFING: When never is not long enough

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The Independent Culture
Thalidomide, the miracle-turned-horror drug banned worldwide in 1962, is still being manufactured to the tune of 3,000 million tablets a year. It is still being taken by pregnant women, whose babies are still being born with deformed limbs. However, if tonight's FIRST TUESDAY, 'Thalidomide - the Drug that Came Back' (10.40pm ITV), underwhelms consciences that once said 'never again', it might be because this time the tragedy is unfolding in poor remote areas of Brazil - and its victims are mostly the offspring of leprosy sufferers.

Leprosy (an estimated one million Brazilians are affected) is now easily curable and Thalidomide is a useful, but non-essential, part of the remedy. The label on the bottle states that pregnant women should stay well clear - but it is written in English, not Portuguese. The drug has also made its way back to Britain, under the pseudonym 'CG217', where it's used to treat severe ulceration. Meanwhile one of its original British victims, who believed hers would be the only 'Thalidomide generation', weeps over photographs of the disfigured Brazilian children

(Photograph omitted)

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