On August 1, 1958 Grünenthal sent a letter to 40,245 German doctors, saying Thalidomide can be given to pregnant and nursing women, since the sedative “neither harms mother nor child”.
Grünenthal based this letter on tests that hadn’t even included pregnant women.
Dr. Augustin Blasiu, who worked at a private women’s hospital in Munich, had used Thalidomide (or Contergan) in his obstetric and gynaecological practice. He gave the sedative to several of his patients over a short period of time and wrote positively about it in an article (published May 2, 1958). However, Dr. Blasiu made sure not to give Thalidomide to a single pregnant woman. He later told authorities, it is “an old fact of experience in medicine that, fundamentally, mother-to-be are not to be given barbiturates, opiates, sedatives or hypnotics because these substances can affect foetuses.” Still, Grünenthal quoted Dr. Blasiu in their letter to the doctors, saying it was completely safe for pregnant women. Those claims were neither covered by Dr. Blasiu’s tests nor by any other tests Grünenthal ever commissioned.
Source: Anklageschrift (indictment) from 1967, today archived at the National Archives of North Rhine-Westphalia in Duisburg, Germany (Rheinland Division, Gerichte Rep. 139, No. 1–396), pp. 63-64.