WARREN, NJ: Makovsky & Company will spearhead a new campaign by
pharmaceutical company Celgene to expand its controversial drug
Thalidomide to European and Australian markets.
Once banned in the US, the drug was given limited FDA approval in 1998
as a treatment for leprosy. More recently, however, it has become known
as an experimental treatment for cancer.
However, the drug faces a tough market in Europe, where during the 1950s
and early 1960s, Thalidomide was prescribed to pregnant women for
morning sickness and as a sleep aid. Over 10,000 "Thalidomide children"
were born, often with extreme deformities.
Makovksy, Thalidomide's US agency, will manage the international
expansion of the drug through its Australia and London outposts. The
international offices will report directly to Donna Ramer, MD of
healthcare for Makovsky's New York office.
The agency's first task will be to make sure that the public understands
Thalidomide and its uses. US manufacturer Celgene has licensed its drugs
for production to UK pharmaceutical corporations Pharmion and Penn
Makovsky will also provide counsel to Pharmion.
"We're taking our efforts one day at a time," said Ramer. "Our
international offices are certainly aware of the drug's history in
Europe, and they are sure to be sensitive in the way that it is to be