In her fight against blood cancer, Ferraro lends support toThalidomide

NEW YORK: Once-banned drug Thalidomide is back in the spotlight

with a "celebrity" spokesperson.

Former vice-presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro announced last week

she is using the infamous drug to combat multiple myeloma, a form of

blood cancer.

Thalidomide was originally prescribed to pregnant women for morning


As a result, between 10,000 and 12,000 children were born during the

1950s and '60s with severe deformities.

Ferraro's revelation was first publicized on the Today show and The New

York Times, then was immediately picked up by the national press and

nightly news shows.

Dan Klores Communications handled the PR for Ferraro and the Multiple

Myeloma Research Foundation. However, the maker of Thalidomide insists

it did not push for this endorsement.

The Celegene Corporation of New Jersey retains Makovsky & Company as its

agency of record. "We didn't know about the Ferraro story until right

before it broke and we didn't have anything to do with it," said Donna

Ramer, MD of health services for Makovsky. "We're focusing on the next

generation of derivatives of Thalidomide without the side affects." Both

drugs are still in clinical trial.

Randolph Warren, executive director and founder of Thalidomide Victims

Association of Canada, believes the media attention has been


"The press is dragging out old footage of cute children with

disabilities but they're not showing the true horror of the tragedy that

occurred. One of the stories I saw referred to Thalidomide as a 'wonder'

drug - that's what they said when it first came out."

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