A Republican congressional candidate on Tuesday was called out for being completely wrong about the Food and Drug Administration's past approval of the drug thalidomide.
Posting on Twitter, New Jersey Republican Billy Prempeh attacked the FDA's full approval of the novel coronavirus vaccine by falsely claiming that the agency had caused several women to suffer from severe birth defects after approving thalidomide for pregnant women in the 1950s.
"Thalidomide was given to pregnant mothers in the 50s and 60s to treat nausea," he wrote. "The result? Severe birth defects. The FDA approves lots of unsafe things. This is about profit not health. Do your due diligence. But hey, what do I know? I'm just some guy named Billy."
In fact, as ESPN writer Keith Law points out, this is a "blatant lie," as the FDA famously resisted pressure to approve thalidomide in the 1950s and only approved it in 1997 for very targeted use for treating leprosy patients suffering from inflammation.
While some American women did suffer birth defects after taking the drug, they took the drug despite the fact that it had not been approved by the FDA, as outlined by an article by the University of Chicago Medical Center.
"The FDA subsequently identified 17 cases — 10 linked to Kevadon that Merrell had distributed to 1,267 doctors under the auspices of its 'investigational' trial," writes the University of Chicago Medical Center. "But the country was spared the broad-based catastrophe visited upon Europe."