Current Affairs
WATCH: Study on consequences of a medicine that left negative effects in pregnancy

Anatole Baldacchino is studying the effects of a medicine that left negative effects in pregnancy, which used to be given during the 50s and 60s.

During a ‘TVAM’ interview on TVM News+, Baldacchino said that the Thalidomide medicine used to be given to control many diseases, including asthma, and was produced by hundreds of companies.

He stated that Thalidomide was introduced in Malta in March 1958 and continued to be administered even its used was banned world-wide in 1961. This occurred due to the fact that when Malta was under the rule of British Governor Sir Guy Grantham, it was still without a Parliament.

Mr Baldaccino estimates that there are between 30 and 40 Maltese who were effected by Thalidomide, who are today aged over 50 and 60. He added that various Maltese women effected by the medicine had already dead at the age of not more than 20.

Thalidomide used to be administered during pregnancy and also as a sedative to a woman before she gave birth. If it was given during the first three months of pregnancy, the medicine could have caused deformities in the baby, while if the woman took the medicine before she gave birth, the baby could be mentally affected.

Mr Baldacchino has initiated a campaign to identify persons still carrying the Thalidomide consequences. The campaign is carried out in collaboration with European MP Alex Agius Saliba and Inclusion and Quality of Life Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli. He said that a study on this medicine will be publish in the beginning of next year.

Thalidomide was responsible for the death of at least 100,000 persons in 47 counties. For every baby that lived after the administration of this medicine, four others died.