Victims of Thalidomide start legal action
It has been reported that 8 British people who believe their disabilities were caused by Thalidomide have started legal action against the drug's manufacturer and distributer.
Thalidomide was given as a 'wonder drug' for morning sickness in the late 1950s and early 1960s. However, it was found to cause serious disabilities, including deformed limbs, and subsequently withdrawn from the market. It is estimated that more than 10,000 babies have been left deformed by the drug. Some babies will have died as a result. There are about 460 survivors in the UK.
The company has never admitted it made any mistakes in relation to the drug, even though an apology was issued in 2012.
There have been a number of successful legal actions by victims of Thalidomide in Australia, and reported payouts in these cases are estimated at £49m.
There have been a number of compensation schemes in the UK set up for people who have had disabilities due to the drug, but many sufferers have been deemed to fall outside this.
Edwina Rawson, medical negligence solicitor and expert in disabilities at Fieldfisher commented:
"I am delighted that finally legal action is being taken. Dealing with the practicalities of daily life are almost impossible without limbs, and the people affected need help and assistance. I hope that the truth behind this scandal will finally emerge, and that full compensation will be paid to the sufferers if it emerges that the company did not act appropriately. If there have been failings, then the company must be brought to account and face up to what has happened."