1963 Photo Contest, Photo Stories, 1st prize

Eddy Veen

01 January, 1963

One of the young victims of the drug thalidomide, a sedative prescribed to many women during pregnancy. The side-effects of the drug were inadequately researched; as a consequence, some children were born with severe birth defects such as stunted growth and malformed limbs.

Thalidomide was developed in the 1950s and released into the market in 1957. The drug was primarily prescribed as a sedative or hypnotic. It was also used against nausea and morning sickness in pregnant women. In the late 1950s and early 1960s thousands of children were born with deformities as a consequence of thalidomide use. It is not known exactly how many worldwide victims the drug caused, although estimates ranges from 10,000 to 20,000. The drug was withdrawn from the market in 1961, when the horrible side effects became clear. The thalidomide crisis eventually led to the development of more structured drug regulations.

About the photographer

Eddy Veen

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