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How to procure thalidomide?

Q: This is with respect to the drugThalidomide for small cell carcinoma. I request you to send me the address as to where it can be purchased in India. I have known from a television programme that the drug is available in Chennai. I therefore request you to provide me information regarding the drug and it side effects.

A:Thalidomide is not appproved for marketing in India by the Drugs Controller General. Therefore no manufacturer is allowed to market the same. It was banned in 1960s worldwide when children with defective organs were born to mothers exposed to thalidomide taken as a hypnotic. Subsequently manufacturers had to pay compensation running into hundreds of millions of dollars. Major side effects of this drug are: peripheral neuropathy, migraine, mutagenicity. Recent studies have shown its beneficial effects on immunosuppression, lepra reactions, graft-versus-host disease, decrease in tumour necrosis factor, effects on CD4+ cells etc. It can be imported by hospitals specialising in certain diseases directly from the manufacturers of thalidomide sold in US under the trade name of Synovir and Thalomid. The name and address of manufacturers is Celgene Corporation, 7 Power Horn Drive, Warren, NJ 07059, United States.

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