For the first time in over 50 years, the German Manufacturer has apologised for the serious birth defects caused by the morning sickness remedy. The CEO of the Gruenenthal Group issued the apology recently to Mothers who took Thalidomide in the 1950’s and 1960’s and later gave birth to children with serious birth defects.
Thalidomide was used by Irish Mothers and was taken off the market in 1961 after it was linked to birth defects, mostly limb defects including children born with missing limbs. The drug has since been found to cause defects in the eyes, ears, heart, genitals and internal organs of developing babies. It has been estimated that some 10,000 babies were ultimately born with birth defects due to their Mothers use of Thalidomide.
According to the Associated Press, Gruenenthal did settle a German law suit to compensate 3,000 victims in that country more than a decade after Thalidomide was withdrawn. The Company has always insisted it bore no liability for Thalidomide birth defects, saying it had conducted all necessary clinical trials required at that time.
In July 2012 a Thalidomide distributor reached a multi-million dollar settlement with an Australian victim of the drug but Gruenenthal refused to settle the case. That law suit and 100 other claims are expected to be heard in Australia next year.