September 1, 2012
BERLIN – Victims of thalidomide said on Saturday an apology from the German inventor of the drug that caused birth defects in thousands of babies around the world was too little too late.
Thalidomide, developed by the German firm Gruenenthal, was marketed internationally to pregnant women in the late 1950s and early 1960s as a treatment for morning sickness. About 10,000 babies were born around the world with defects caused by the drug, mostly malformed limbs or missing arms or legs.
“Having tried to remind them of their criminal behaviour across a negotiating table on several occasions, I didn’t think this company would ever make things right,” said British thalidomide victim Geoff Adams-Spink.
“This is an important first step. The next is to compensate everyone damaged by their so-called ‘totally harmless’ drug,” said Adams-Spink, who heads the European Dysmelia Reference Information Centre, a support group for those with limb malformations attributable to thalidomide and other causes.