Europe speaks with one voice as MEPs call on German government for justice for thalidomide survivors

Speaking at a press conference at the European Parliament today leading MEPs have called on the federal German government to offer financial compensation to the remaining survivors of the drug Thalidomide in Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

Speaking from Brussels, Theresa said: “I, along with other MEPs, met with the survivors to discuss the ongoing campaign, the Fifty Year Fight, which has secured the backing of all seven political groups in the European Parliament.”

Thalidomide was widely marketed in Europe by German pharmaceutical company Grunenthal as a non-toxic pain-killing wonder drug. These claims were false and the company was aware of the fact. The drug in fact caused thousands of cases of foetal death and abnormality worldwide.

The campaign presented evidence that the criminal trial of Grunenthal for negligence was prematurely ended in 1970 with the active participation and encouragement of the German Federal Government. This had the direct effect of suppressing all the evidence preventing the victims obtaining justice in their own countries.

“Now is the time for the German government to put right this historic wrong”, said Nick Dobrik, one of the campaign leaders. “The number of survivors, most in very poor health, is dwindling every year. They are receiving inadequate or nil compensation, yet comparatively small amounts would massively improve their quality of life.”

The campaign is asking for a meeting at senior levels with the German federal authorities to press its case, followed by a final financial settlement.

Theresa said: “I am proud to support the Fifty Year Fight campaign calling for justice for those affected by Thalidomide. I have been a supporter of this fight for a long time and I am very pleased to see the campaign, led by Nick, progressing in the European Parliament. I will continue to be part of this fight until justice is served.”