The sedative drug Contergan , which has been sold millions of times and contains the active ingredient thalidomide , could cause damage to the growth of the fetuses when taken in early pregnancy . Thalidomide helped among other things, against the typical morning morning sickness in early pregnancy phase and was considered in terms of side effects as particularly safe. Until the late 1950s, it was specifically recommended as an over-the-counter sedative and sleeping aid for pregnant women. It was sold from October 1, 1957 to November 27, 1961, and from August 1, 1961, it was only available on prescription due to possible side effects on the nervous system. The ingestion of Contergan resulted in an accumulation of severe malformations ( dysmelia ) or even the absence ( amelia ) of limbs and organs in newborns. Around 5,000–10,000 damaged children were born worldwide. There was also an unknown number of stillbirths. At the beginning of 2016, the Federal Association of Contergan Victims stated on its website that there are still around 2,400 thalidomide victims living in Germany.
In 1958, malformations in newborns were first discussed in the Bundestag. At that time a possible connection with nuclear weapons tests was suspected. However, the accumulation was initially not taken seriously due to the loosening of reporting requirements in West Germany after the National Socialist past, lack of coordination between government agencies and research, and other problems with statistical recording. It was not until the end of 1961 that the connection between Contergan and the malformations was recognized and the drug was taken off the market by the manufacturer, Grünenthal GmbH in Stolberg. In 1961, West Germany established the Federal Ministry of Health at the federal level. The scandal had a worldwide impact on the handling of drug approvals. It has been made into a film several times and has become the basis of various books, novels and studies.
The drug was developed in 1954 by Wilhelm Kunz, Herbert Keller and Heinrich Mückter as "K17" in the research department of the Stolberg-based company Chemie Grünenthal . Animal experiments initially showed no specific, positive drug effects or side effects. It was not until administration to humans, initially for the treatment of epilepsy , that the substance's high potential as a sedative and sleeping aid was shown . On June 11, 1956, an application was made to the North Rhine-Westphalian Ministry of the Interior for approval. Since the suitability for suicide was lower in the drug due to its very low acute toxicity and the tests on rodents did not reveal any side effects, the drug could be sold without a prescription in many countries. Under the trade names Contergan (25 mg) and Contergan forte (100 mg), the active ingredient thalidomide was freely available in West German pharmacies from October 1, 1957 as a sleeping and sedative. In other countries, such as Great Britain, it was on the market from 1958 under brand names such as Distaval (Forte), Maval, Tensival, Valgis or Valgraine.
Nuclear weapons tests as the suspected cause
The increasing number of nuclear weapons tests in the atmosphere at the end of the 1950s fueled many fears. On May 10, 1958, the Bayreuth pediatrician Karl Beck published an article in the Schwäbische Landeszeitung in which he claimed that the number of deformed children was currently increasing significantly and that this was due to the nuclear tests. Beck's investigations led to an inquiry by Erich Mendes in the Bundestag on May 14, 1958. The Federal Government, namely the Ministry of the Interior, was asked to determine whether the "number of freak births (live and stillbirths) had increased since 1950" and whether there was a connection with the effect of radioactive radiation. In its response, the Federal Government rejected the claim of an increase in malformations with reference to statistical data and denied the connection with nuclear weapons. In 1959 the Freiburg pathologist Franz Büchner took the initiative again and criticized details of the report. At that time, only about 90 children were born with thalidomide-related damage. In 1961, due to a parents' initiative in Hamburg, inquiries were made again about the connection with the nuclear weapon tests, in this case to the Federal President.
First discovery of side effects
On December 31, 1960, the Scottish doctor Leslie Florence first drew attention to the nerve damaging effects of thalidomide in a letter to the editor (“ Is Thalidomide to blame? ”) To the British Medical Journal due to complaints from his patients , whereupon the director of the Cologne University Psychiatric Clinic Werner Scheid demanded that a prescription be required in 1961 . Initially, the Grünenthal company denied the connection between Contergan and the diseases, but on May 26, 1961 applied for a prescription, which gradually came into effect in the individual federal states from July 1961 (Bavaria was the last federal state to subject the thalidomide active ingredient to thalidomide on January 1, 1962 the prescription requirement). A number of articles had been published in professional journals since May 1961. And in the August 16, 1961 issue, Der Spiegel also reported on the drug's side effects. The Spiegel article refers to the discoveries of Horst Frenkel , Ferdinand Hoff and Jürg Zutt .
Detection of malformation cases
Since the end of 1960, a rapid increase in malformations in newborns has been observed in Germany. In the first specialist publication, the doctor Hans-Rudolf Wiedemann reported in September 1961 that 13 cases of limb malformations had been observed in the Krefeld municipal children's clinic in the previous ten months. But since he could not determine the cause, he assumed that this was due to a newly introduced "toxic factor" that is not yet known. The public continued to speculate about possible damage from nuclear weapons tests, which delayed the investigation.
In 1961, the Hamburg doctor Widukind Lenz and the Australian gynecologist William McBride checked and published the connection between thalidomide and the malformations independently of one another . The publications were based on observed correlations between information on thalidomide consumption by the mother and the injured child.
According to an anonymous letter, Die Welt published an article on November 26, 1961, whereupon Grünenthal finally withdrew Contergan from the market the following day . The company had already been informed by Lenz by telephone on November 15, but on November 24 it had refused to withdraw the drug from the market and threatened recourse claims in the event of a ban.
On December 6, 1961, another, more detailed article was published in Spiegel magazine. It says about the discovery of the physician Lenz and the most recent publications:
“Until Monday last week, the German citizens knew nothing about the 'malformation epidemic'. On this day, however, the West German newspaper readers among fat, with more ('Die Welt': 'Malformations through sleeping pills?') Or less tact ('picture': 'Miscarriages through sleeping pills?') Wrote headlines about the extent of the accident , but cleared up about its supposed cause. The pediatrician and lecturer at the Hamburg University Children's Clinic Dr. According to the newspapers, Widukind Lenz 'sounded the alarm' and warned about the most commonly used sleeping pill. "
In post-war West Germany, the public and the medical profession had opposed the mandatory reporting of malformations in newborns. They shied away from continuing the reporting system on the basis of the National Socialist Law for the Prevention of Hereditary Diseases , which was closely linked to the crimes of Operation T4 . For a long time, the increasing malformations in West Germany were not recorded centrally and taken seriously. In addition, the various damage caused by thalidomide only occurred if the sleeping pill was taken in the so-called 'sensitive phase' of organ development between the 27th and 40th day after conception or the 34th and 50th day after the start of the last menstruation .
On the occasion of the parliamentary question in 1958 on a possible connection between nuclear weapon tests and malformations, the systematic evaluation of damage reports was only started again parallel to the release of thalidomide. So there was initially no increase in malformations. The commission that was also set up and the associated research project of the German Research Foundation initially delayed the clarification more than it promoted. The responsible scientist, the Freiburg pathologist Franz Büchner , wanted above all to prove his teratological theory, according to which unhealthy diet and the behavior of mothers contribute to malformations, and used the project to isolate colleagues who disagree. His opponent, the geneticist Hans Nachtsheim , emphasized above all the causes that can be found in the genetic make-up. Nachtsheim's Nazi past made it easier for the avowed moralist Büchner, who was also known by the nickname “Saint Franz”, to proceed.
Tests on infants and children
It wasn't until August 2020 that it became known that the drug had also been tested on hundreds of infants and sick children by 1960. In a lung sanatorium run by Caritas in Wittlich and by a pediatrician in Stuttgart, Contergan was tested on children suffering from tuberculosis and on restless, "behavioral" babies. Heavy overdoses were also given. The extent to which the children were harmed is no longer understandable today. The chairman of the Caritas Association for the Diocese of Trier eV, Auxiliary Bishop Franz Josef Gebert said that he did not know about the attempts. He apologized on behalf of Caritas and now wants to clear up the events. The manufacturing company Grünenthal said that such drug studies on children were not uncommon at the time. From today's perspective, however, they cannot be understood. The SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach pointed out that such "human experiments" would probably result in imprisonment for doctors today.
According to information from the Federal Association of Thalidomide Victims , a total of around 5,000 thalidomide-damaged children were born. Other sources speak of 10,000 cases worldwide, of which 4,000 occurred in Germany. Half of these have already died. There was also an unknown number of stillbirths.
There was also interest in the manufacture of the product in the GDR . However, after an examination by the Central Advisory Committee for Drug Traffic, chaired by the pharmacologist Friedrich Jung , the production was rejected. During a visit to the GDR, the Swedish biochemist Robert Nilsson was asked by a member of the drug committee whether thalidomide, as a derivative of glutamic acid, could damage the normal development of the fetus because it works as an antivitamin .
Austria and Switzerland
Contergan was sold in Austria and Switzerland under the name Softenon and required a prescription. As a result, the number of injured children was in the low double-digit range. In Austria, the prescription requirement was enforced by Ingeborg Eichler , a member of the drug approval committee. On May 20, 2015, the Contergan Aid Benefits Act was passed in Austria , introducing a pension benefit for thalidomide victims.
After Contergan was taken off the market in Germany at the end of 1961, Grünenthal delivered the tablets to Spain as "bulk goods". Local pharmaceutical companies took over packaging and distribution under the name Softenon . The drug was shipped until May 1962. There has never been a public debate about the side effects of thalidomide in Spain, so a child with altered limbs was still born in 2003 after the mother took the drug. An association of victims has been founded in Madrid to fight for compensation in German and Spanish courts. In 2013 it had around 200 members; the total number of victims for Spain is estimated at around 3,000, many of whom have already died in childhood.
The FDA - pharmacologist Frances Oldham Kelsey had repeatedly delayed the release of thalidomide as a drug against morning sickness. Kelsey questioned the documents received despite the approval already received in Canada and Europe. Kelsey had used various indications of nerve damage ( polyneuritides ) caused by thalidomide to request further tests before the release. During the trial in the United States, several dozen children were born with disabilities , and others were harmed by taking the drug abroad.
The main proceedings against Grünenthal were opened on January 18, 1968 before the 1st Large Criminal Chamber of the Aachen Regional Court against nine defendants for willful and negligent bodily harm, for negligent homicide and for serious violation of the Medicines Act. The indictments were the managing partner Hermann Wirtz , the scientific director Heinrich Mückter , the managing director Jacob Chauvistré, the commercial director Hermann Leufgens, the authorized signatory and sales manager Klaus Winandi, the head of the "medical-scientific department" Gotthold Erich Werner, the "preparation supervisor “Contergans Günther Sievers, the head of the scientific field service Günter Michael and the doctor and authorized signatory Hans Werner von Schrader-Beielstein, who (like Sievers) was a member of the company's thalidomide committee. The Chief Public Prosecutor Heinz Gierlich read out the indictment. The public prosecutors Josef Havertz, Eberhard Knipfer and Hans Helmut Günter acted as representatives of the public prosecutor's office. A media presence in Stolberg was largely avoided. The trial took place in Alsdorf , ten kilometers from Aachen , as there was no large hall available in Aachen for all those involved in the process. The venue was the “Anna” casino of the Eschweiler Mining Association (EBV) in Alsdorf-Mitte. The first day of the trial was May 27, 1968.
Of the injured parties, 312 were admitted as joint plaintiffs . The parents' secondary action was represented by lawyers Rupert Schreiber and Karl-Hermann Schulte-Hillen, among others. Schreiber was a private lecturer in law at the University of Cologne. Schulte-Hillen was a lawyer and himself the father of a thalidomide-damaged child. The original nine, in the end only five defendants, were supported by almost 20 criminal defense lawyers . A large number of supplementary judges were available for both professional judges and lay judges . A total of around 120 witnesses were heard.
On the 242nd day of the trial, the representatives of the joint plaintiffs filed a petition for bias against the associate judge and district court director Melster because he had been seen talking to a defense attorney for those responsible for Grünenthal. When the public prosecutor's office was unable to oppose the rejection request, the judge in question declared himself biased and left the proceedings.
On April 10, 1970, the parents of the injured party reached a settlement with Grünenthal through the co-plaintiff Schreiber. This included a further waiver of legal action and a compensation amount of 100 million German marks , which the Grünenthal company paid into the relief organization for disabled children , later renamed the Contergan Foundation . This waiver of action is still the subject of controversial discussions today. However, within the framework of the establishment of the foundation and the Foundation Act, it was possible to oblige the state itself to help shape the details of the content of this foundation.
The Contergan Foundation supports projects that benefited people with general disabilities until 2009, and since then only people with thalidomide damage. In addition, a network has been set up that provides knowledge on how to deal with thalidomide damage in the form of a knowledge database.
Compensation for thalidomide victims
The following payments were initially made from the aforementioned payments into the foundation:
|Damage points||Capital compensation||monthly rent|
|10-14.99||7,500 DM||100 DM|
|15-19.99||7,500 DM||150 DM|
|20-24.99||15,000 DM||200 DM|
|25-29.99||15,000 DM||250 DM|
|30-34.99||12,500 DM||300 DM|
|35-39.99||12,500 DM||350 DM|
|40-44.99||15,000 DM||400 DM|
|45-49.99||15,000 DM||450 DM|
|50-59.99||17,500 DM||450 DM|
|60-69.99||20,000 DM||450 DM|
|70-79.99||22,500 DM||450 DM|
|80–…||25,000 DM||450 DM|
The monthly amounts have been adjusted several times: 1976 25%, 1980 13% 1982 11%, 1985 8%, 1988 6%, 1991 8%, 1993 7%, 1997 8%, 2002 4%, so that the pensions from 2002 to 2008 were between 121 euros and 545 euros.
The amount of 100 million DM that went into the foundation from Grünenthal was supplemented by payments from the federal government, initially also 100 million DM, over the years another 220 million DM, totaling 320 million DM (163.6 million €). Since May 1997 the pensions have been paid entirely from the federal budget, as the foundation funds provided for this have been used up. In 2011, around 35 million euros were made available for this.
At the beginning of May 2008, the Bundestag unanimously decided "as a first step in the right direction" to double the monthly compensation payments to thalidomide victims. Now the Contergan Foundation pays those affected between 242 and 1090 euros. The graduation is based on the severity of the disability.
At the beginning of May 2008, Grünenthal announced that it would voluntarily pay a further 50 million euros into the Contergan Foundation, which was implemented in mid-July 2009. Since then, this has been fed into an annual special payment which, in contrast to the pension in steps of 5, is not capped at 45 damage points, but is staggered up to 80 points in steps of 10.
One day before the hearing in the family committee on the final report of the study on the situation of thalidomide victims on February 1, 2013, the coalition committee made an additional 120 million euros available annually for compensation, of which around 90 million euros in increasing pensions and 30 million in Non-bureaucratic medical and nursing aids and remedies and aids should flow, although details are still open.
In an international comparison, an average of 2100 euros per month was paid out in Great Britain in 2008. An international study on the benefits and entitlements of thalidomide-damaged people in 21 countries at the beginning of 2012 gave a more detailed overview of the compensation in other countries.
With the third law amending the Contergan Foundation Act , the pensions were significantly increased retrospectively as of January 1, 2013: in the lowest level (10-14.99 points) from 255 euros to 612 euros (factor 2.4), in the eighth highest level so far Level (from 45 points) from 1,152 euros to 3,686 euros (factor 3.2), up to a maximum of 6,912 euros in the now highest 18th level from 95 damage points (factor 6). Above all, the aim is to do better justice to the fate of the seriously injured, who were previously disadvantaged by the 45 point cap. In addition to the 90 million euros per year required for this, a special fund with 30 million euros per year will be set up, from which individual support can be granted on request, provided that this is not taken over by other sponsors.
Similar to the sulfanilamide disaster, the scandal had extensive effects on pharmaceutical law and the approval of medicines. American drug law, amended in 1962, was in many ways a model that a large number of other countries followed. Central regulations of this law were tightened by the Kefauver-Harris Drug Amendment of 1962, which was discussed in parallel to the disclosure of the thalidomide scandal. With this amendment to the law, proof of therapeutic effectiveness was required for the first time , which had to be proven in suitable, controlled studies. Previously, it was sufficient to demonstrate the pharmaceutical manufacturing quality and the safety.
The case law on Contergan also had an impact on product liability and the responsibility of executives and, last but not least, on how the authorities deal with liability issues. The process as such in 1971 by the regional court Aachen to the payment of an amount millions of Grünenthal and the German government set .
In addition to the Contergan Foundation, there are other independent interest groups for those affected and their families, for example the Bundesverband Conterganeschädigte e. V., the Association of Thalidomide Victims and Grünenthalopfer e. V. and the Contergannetzwerk Deutschland e. V.
The active ingredient has been approved as a drug from Celgene in the USA since 1998 under the brand name Thalomid for the treatment of erythema nodosum leprosum , and since 2006 for the treatment of multiple myeloma ; one assumes sales around 300 million dollars a year. Celgene has been marketing Thalidomide Celgene in the EU since 2008 .
Contergan Foundation Act
The Contergan Foundation Act , which came into force on October 19, 2005 , led to the name of the foundation “Aid Organization for Disabled Children” being changed to “ Contergan Foundation for Disabled People ”. Furthermore, it aims to reduce bureaucracy, change procedural regulations and adapt the current foundation law to the current circumstances. In the second law amending the Contergan Foundation Act , it was stipulated, among other things, that the Contergan pensions will be doubled on July 1, 2008. The thalidomide pensions were also linked to the statutory pension. This resulted in further increases in July 2009, July 2011 and July 2012. In addition, those affected have been receiving annual special payments since 2009 depending on the severity of their disability, and the deadline for claiming benefits has been lifted. Pursuant to the Contergan Foundation Act, the Federal Government must submit a report to the German Bundestag every two years on the effects of the Act and any further development of these regulations that may be necessary, this was the first time for the period from 2013 to 2015.
Performance by Joseph Beuys
Entitled infiltration homogeneous, the greatest contemporary composer is the thalidomide child took Joseph Beuys by Fluxus - Performance on 28 July 1966 in Dusseldorf for thalidomide scandal artistic position.
Contergan - film about the scandal
Contergan is a two-part television film by television producer Michael Souvignier in which the thalidomide scandal is fictionalized. The screenplay for the film was written by Benedikt Röskau , directed by Adolf Winkelmann , the main actors are Katharina Wackernagel and Benjamin Sadler . Denise Marko from Schrobenhausen, a girl who was born in 1995 with no arms and only one leg due to a genetic defect, plays the role of the main characters' thalidomide-damaged daughter.
On July 28, 2006, the Hamburg district court stopped the television film by Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR) about the Contergan scandal, which was to be broadcast in late autumn as a two-part film entitled Contergan - One Single Tablet . The reason for this was that Grünenthal and lawyer Schulte-Hillen, who represented the injured party and saw his person in the film defamatory, had sued the WDR and the Cologne production company Zeitsprung.
The ban on broadcasting the two-part series has now been lifted; To meet a requirement of the OLG Hamburg, a clarifying scene was shot, the film was not shortened. A first-instance judgment was to be issued on July 20, 2007 on the main issue. However, Grünenthal had already lodged a constitutional complaint with the Federal Constitutional Court (BVerfG) in Karlsruhe on May 10, 2007 . At the same time, urgent requests were made to issue temporary injunctions, as the film was to be shown promptly at film festivals and on ARD. In order not to anticipate the decision of the highest court, the production company Zeitsprung withdrew the film from the Munich Film Festival, which was to be screened on June 24, 2007. In an urgent decision published on September 5, 2007, the Karlsruhe judges dismissed the claims of the Contergan manufacturer Grünenthal and a lawyer.
Both ARD and Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF) broadcast the film on November 7th and 8th, 2007 with accompanying documentaries.
Only 46 years after the damaging effect became known, the concentrated media presence of the topic caused by the 50th anniversary of the market launch of Contergan and the two-part television show Contergan shortly afterwards for the first talks on December 7, 2007 between Grünenthal and the Federal Association of Contergan Victims.
NoBody's Perfect - Documentary
In this film, Niko von Glasow, himself a thalidomide-damaged, documented his very personal search for twelve people with the aim of creating an illustrated book with nude photographs of Contergan people. These pictures were then shown to the public on the Cologne Cathedral square. ARD broadcast the film on August 10, 2010.
Hunger strike by Contergan victims in 2008
On September 18, 2008, three victims of the Contergansandal ( Stephan Nuding , Norbert Schweyen and Gihan Higasi) and the mother of one of the victims (Helga Nuding) went on an indefinite hunger strike to persuade the German government to negotiate an increase with them of monthly pensions (an increase to three times the previous level was requested). They also called for talks with the Grünenthal company, especially the Wirtz owner family , which should involve admitting guilt and paying an average of one million euros in compensation for pain and suffering. The victims emphasized that they saw their dignity injured by the behavior of Grünenthal and the federal government, and demanded the financial means, which are the prerequisite for a self-determined life. The hunger strikers were supported in their project by the Evangelical parish Altenberg / Schildgen and moved into quarters in the community center. On October 14, the hunger strike was ended until further notice. On November 17th, 2008 Helga Nuding, Stephan Nuding and Gihan Higasi were guests at Beckmann together with Markus Kurth . The strike was also reported several times in the press.
Erecting a monument in 2012, apologies and reactions
At the end of August 2012 , a memorial for the Contergan victims was unveiled in the foyer of the cultural center in Stolberg , the headquarters of Grünenthal, which the Aachen artist Bonifatius Stirnberg created on the initiative of one of the victims. It is a bronze sculpture that shows a girl sitting on a chair without arms and with misshapen feet. A second, empty chair can be seen next to it, representing the young deceased. The memorial is inscribed with the text: “In memory of the dead and survivors of the Contergank disaster.” The cost of 5000 euros for the memorial was covered by Grünenthal. The sculpture of the child itself shows normal hands on severely shortened arms, a proximal-transversal damage, which in this form is never due to Contergan, but rather to the artistic inspiration of the sculptor. The Federal Association of Thalidomide Victims did not take part in the presentation of the monument and criticized it as a “media-effective coup”.
Harald Stock, managing director of the Contergan manufacturer, apologized for the first time to the injured party on the occasion of the inauguration of the monument with the words: “We also apologize for the fact that we have not found our way to you, from person to person, for 50 years . Instead, we remained silent. ”In the past, the company had repeatedly expressed its regret over the“ tragedy ”, but had not yet apologized directly to the thalidomide victims. Affected associations such as the BV, the BCG and the CND criticized that this apology only related to the company's inadequate willingness to communicate and that only regret and sympathy were spoken of with regard to the actual tragedy. British, Australian and Japanese victim representatives also expressed criticism. Grünenthal does not admit any actual misconduct. The criticism was combined with demands for financial compensation for the victims.
According to an interview with Wirtschaftswoche published shortly afterwards, Harald Stock declined a more extensive apology to the thalidomide victims, since at the time there was no guilt. Instead, a further foundation for thalidomide victims was announced in addition to the hardship regulation and the existing thalidomide foundation.
Review of the role of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia
In September 2013, more than 50 years after the catastrophe, the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia , which was then responsible for the health system in the state in the absence of a Federal Ministry of Health , initiated a research project through the responsible minister Barbara Steffens , which examined the role of the then state and should research political bodies and persons. The project worked on by Niklas Lenhard-Schramm at the chair of the historian Thomas Großbölting from Münster was published in May 2019 under the title “The attitude of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia to the Contergansandal and its consequences”. The extensive study rolled out the entire case on the basis of previously inaccessible sources and is regarded as a new standard work. It came to the conclusion that the action options of the health authorities were very limited due to the legal situation at the time, but that the officials were not involved in the case intensively. As the author was able to further prove, the controversial termination of the criminal proceedings was negotiated jointly by all those involved in the proceedings, including the injured parties' representatives. At an information event on the study on June 22, 2016, Minister Steffens apologized to the Contergan victims for the failure of the authorities.
- Carsten Büll, Martin Dreßler u. a .: Contergan - five life stories. Background to the history of Contergan and the situation of Contergan victims today. Wellhöfer, Mannheim 2007, ISBN 978-3-939540-00-7 .
- Nicholas Eschenbruch (Ed.): Medicines of the 20th century. Historical sketches from cod liver oil to thalidomide. Transcript, Bielefeld 2009, ISBN 978-3-8376-1125-0 (= Science studies ).
- Niko von Glasow, Ania Dabrowska (photos): NoBody's Perfect. Sandmann, Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-938045-10-7 .
- Thomas Großbölting , Niklas Lenhard-Schramm (eds.): Contergan. Background and consequences of a pharmaceutical scandal . Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht , Göttingen 2017, ISBN 978-3-647-30183-9 .
- Beate Kirk: The Contergan case: an unavoidable drug disaster? On the history of the drug thalidomide. With a foreword by Christoph Friedrich. Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft, Stuttgart 1999, ISBN 3-8047-1681-4 (also dissertation at the University of Greifswald 1998).
- Catia Monser: Contergan, Thalidomide. Misfortunes never come singly. Eggcup, Düsseldorf 1993, ISBN 3-930004-00-3 .
- Niklas Lenhard-Schramm: The state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Contergan scandal. Health Oversight and Criminal Justice in the "Long Sixties" . Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2016, ISBN 978-3-525-30178-4 .
- Herfried Münkler , Matthias Bohlender, Sabine Meurer (eds.): Security and risk: About dealing with danger in the 21st century. Transcript, Bielefeld 2010, ISBN 978-3-8376-1229-5 .
- Fritz U. Niethard, René Baumgartner (eds.): Contergan: 30 years later. 5 tables. Enke, Stuttgart 1994, ISBN 3-432-25781-3 .
- Henning Sjöström, Robert Nilsson: Thalidomide and the Power of the Drug Companies. Penguin Books, 1972; German translation: Contergan or the power of the pharmaceutical companies. VEB Verlag Volk und Gesundheit, Berlin (GDR), 1975.
- Ludwig Zichner a . a. (Ed.): The Contergankatastrophe. A balance sheet after 40 years. In: Yearbook of the German Orthopedic History and Research Museum, Frankfurt am Main. Volume 6. Steinkopff, Darmstadt 2005, ISBN 978-3-7985-1479-9 .
- Cold feet . In: Der Spiegel . No. 50 , 1961, pp. 89-93 ( online ).
- Anna Christiane Schulze: The role of Widukind Lenz in the uncovering of the teratogenic effects of thalidomide (Contergan): medical-historical consideration of the importance of an individual in the largest German drug scandal . Frankfurt (Main) 2016, DNB 1112557415 (dissertation).
- Comprehensive presentation of the thalidomide history (the background - history from 1955–1979 inc. Process and other scandals)
- Pages about Contergan of the WDR
- Representation of Grünenthal
- Trial in Alsdorf
- The Contergan Scandal - WDR film by Walter Harrich and Danuta Harrich-Zandberg
- NoBody's Perfect - The page to the film
- Contergan Affair - TV report from December 9, 1963 on the subject.
- Evening show - is enough happening for Contergan children? (TV report from November 18, 1965) via ARD media library . Accessed October 30, 2019.
- Federal association of thalidomide victims
- “I learned to laugh at myself” (interview with Thomas Quasthoff ) . In: Die Welt , October 2, 2007, p. 10.
- Federal association of thalidomide victims: Grünenthal fact check ( memento from July 15, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) accessed: January 21, 2016
- Klaus Roth: An unending story . (PDF)
- Klaus-Dieter Thomann: The Contergan catastrophe. The deceptive security of “hard” data . In: Deutsches Ärzteblatt . tape 104 , no. 41 , October 12, 2007, p. A-2778 / B-2454 / C-2382 ( aerzteblatt.de [PDF; accessed on April 8, 2015]).
- AL Florence (1960): Is thalidomide to blame? In: British Medical Journal. 2: 1954, PMC 2098660 (free full text).
- Horst Frenkel: Contergan side effects. In: Medical World. May 6, 1961.
- Hans-Werner Scheid and others: Polyneuritic syndromes after prolonged thalidomide medication . In: German Medical Weekly. May 12, 1961. Joachim Raffauf: Does thalidomide (Contergan) cause no harm? In: German Medical Weekly. May 12, 1961.
- Ralph Voss: Nil nocere! Contergan polyneuritis. In: Munich Medical Weekly. Volume 103, 1961, p. 1431.
- Sugar cookies forte . In: Der Spiegel . No. 34 , 1961, pp. 59-60 ( online ).
- H.-R. Wiedemann: The medical world. September 1961, p. 1863.
- William McBride: Report. In: The Lancet . December 1961, p. 1358.
- Welt am Sonntag, November 26, 1961, facsimile of the original article ( memento from July 31, 2019 in the Internet Archive ), see also Review Welt Online on November 21, 2011: The “harmless” sleeping pill and the great scandal. Retrieved November 26, 2011 .
- Cold feet . In: Der Spiegel . No. 50 , 1961, pp. 89-93 ( online ).
- Ludwig Zichner, Michael A. Rauschmann, Klaus-Dieter Thomann: The Contergankatastrophe. A balance sheet after 40 years. Gabler Wissenschaftsverlage, 2005, 190 pages.
- Contergan scandal: experiments on babies and children
- Citizens of the GDR slept without Contergan . In: Neues Deutschland , November 4, 2007.
- In Austria until 1962 on the market on ORF
- Art. 8 BGBl. I No. 57/2015 , PDF
- Thomas Urban : Contergan in Spain. Suspicion of cover-up . In: sueddeutsche.de. October 14, 2013.
- Contergan Foundation Act the
- Project funding since 2009 ( memento of August 31, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) on the Foundation's website, accessed on February 2, 2013.
- Federal Gazette No. 189 of October 6, 1973.
- on the pension amounts see also “Pension Development Matrix” on the Foundation's website ( Memento from December 10, 2013 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on February 2, 2013.
- Total amount according to the foundation's website ( memento of October 24, 2011 on WebCite ).
- Annual Report of the Foundation 2011 ( Memento of May 13, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 184 kB) Chapter 5.1.1 .; Retrieved February 2, 2013.
- Report on the public hearing of the Committee on Family, Seniors, Women and Youth ( Memento of May 30, 2008 in the Internet Archive ).
- Appendix 4 to the guidelines for the granting of benefits due to thalidomide damage cases. (PDF page 11) (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on December 3, 2015 ; Retrieved February 2, 2013 .
- Final report of the study Repeated surveys on problems, special needs and supply deficits of thalidomide-damaged people living in Germany ( memento from April 28, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) at the Foundation, accessed on February 2, 2013.
- Matthias Kamann: 120 million euros in addition for Contergan victims . In: The world. February 1, 2013, accessed February 2, 2013.
- Contergan alliance founded in Wesseling , accessed on February 2, 2013.
- study. (PDF; 1.25 MB) Retrieved May 19, 2019 .
- - text and changes
- On the homepage of the Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth incl. Annex, on April 25, 2013.
- Hans Achenbach: Handbook of commercial criminal law. Hüthig Jehle Rehm Publishing House, 2011 - 1,762 pages.
- FDA Approval for Thalidomide. Retrieved October 25, 2016 .
- MA Ismail: FDA: A Shell of its Former Self. In: Pushing Prescriptions. The Center for Public Integrity, July 7, 2005, accessed May 12, 2012 .
- Federal Law Gazette I p. 2967 , PDF) Act of October 13, 2005 (
- Act of June 25, 2009
- Message from the Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth from May 6, 2010.
- BT-Drs. 18/8780
- WDR may show Contergan film in full ( memento from February 1, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Netzeitung, September 5, 2007.
- Urgent applications rejected: Contergan film may be broadcast in November Federal Constitutional Court, press release No. 88/2007 of August 29, 2007.
- First meeting between Grünenthal and the Federal Association of Thalidomide Victims. Press portal, December 10, 2007, accessed April 28, 2016 .
- Comment in the Weser Kurier from July 16, 2010.
- Altenberg / Schildgen
- Homepage of the hunger strike ( Memento from April 5, 2009 in the Internet Archive ).
- DasErste.de : Hunger strikers at Beckmann ( Memento from November 8, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
- taz October 6, 2008 , October 14, 2008 ( memento of October 16, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) and others, see also strike page ( Memento of December 6, 2008 in the Internet Archive ).
- Contergan manufacturer apologizes for the first time to victims. Süddeutsche Zeitung, August 31, 2012, accessed on September 1, 2012 .
- Drug scandal surrounding the Grünenthal company: Contergan manufacturer apologizes for the first time to victims at sueddeutsche.de, August 31, 2012 (accessed on August 31, 2012), s. a. Press release of the Federal Association ( Memento from December 25, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 155 kB), accessed on September 1, 2012.
- Speech by Dr. Harald F. Stock ( memento of September 2, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) accessed on September 1, 2012.
- Medicines scandal: Contergan manufacturer asks for an apology at welt.de, August 31, 2012 (accessed on August 31, 2012).
- Apology in the Contergan scandal - 50 years of silence , accessed on September 1, 2012.
- Press release of the Federal Association ( Memento of September 7, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 156 kB), accessed on September 1, 2012, and BCG mailing “to all forums and distribution lists”, accessed on September 1, 2012 via Contergan Schleswig -Holstein and press release of the CND , accessed on September 2, 2012.
- Worldwide criticism of apology from Contergan company ( Memento from November 26, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
- Empty case and a PR gag , accessed on September 2, 2012.
- Apology is "insulting nonsense" for associations , Handelsblatt dated September 1, 2012.
- No further apology to thalidomide victims , interview with Wirtschaftswoche, accessed on September 8, 2012.
- Petra Pluwatsch: Old scandal in a new light in Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger from February 19, 2014, p. 14; Press release from January 28, 2014 .
- Press release MGEPA NRW from May 13, 2016
- Reiner Burger: The pill children. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, November 19, 2016, p. 3.
- Niklas Lenhard-Schramm: The attitude of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia to the Contergansandal and its consequences (long version). Münster 2016, pp. 587–624
- A moment of appreciation. Contergan victim: NRW Minister of Health apologizes for failure of the authorities. In: Neue Rhein-Zeitung, June 23, 2016, p. 3.