Celgene was able to show that Thalidomide was also effective in treating multiple myeloma (MM), a cancer of the plasma cells. The company applied for an additional FDA approval for this new application, which was granted in 2006. Since then Celgene has been allowed to market “Thalomid” and more recently “Revlimid” (also containing Thalidomide) for the treatment of MM in the US, but only under the strictest safety rules making sure their drug wasn’t taken by pregnant women.
Later Celgene also received permission to sell these preparations in other countries, including Australia, Canada and the European Union. The same safety rules apply.
“Thalomid” and especially “Revlimid” have become Celgene’s flagship drugs. Thanks to strong sales Celgene grew from a modest pharmaceutical company to an industry giant with estimated revenue of US$8 billion in 2015.
Sources: Michael Magazanik: Silent Shock. The Men behind the Thalidomide Scandal and an Australian Family’s Long Road to Justice. Melbourne 2015, pp. 202ff.