Thalidomide was a widely used drug in the late 1950s and early 1960s for the treatment of nausea in pregnant women. It became apparent in the 1960s that thalidomide treatment resulted in severe birth defects in thousands of children. Though the use of thalidomide was banned in most countries at that time, thalidomide proved to be a useful treatment for leprosy and later, multiple myeloma. In rural areas of the world that lack extensive medical surveillance initiatives, thalidomide treatment of pregnant women with leprosy has continued to cause malformations.