German thalidomide company, victims to meet

18th November 2007, Comments 0 comments

18 November 2007, Berlin (dpa) - The company that invented and marketed thalidomide, the drug blamed for 10,000 birth defects worldwide between 1957 and 1961, has agreed to meet German victims demanding better compensation. Margit Hudelmaier, 47, chairwoman of the victims, told dpa on Sunday that the Gruenenthal pharmaceuticals company had offered to meet and talk. She said her group had agreed. In line with a request from company chief executive Sebastian Wirtz, 37, the date of the first meeting would not


18 November 2007

Berlin (dpa) - The company that invented and marketed thalidomide, the drug blamed for 10,000 birth defects worldwide between 1957 and 1961, has agreed to meet German victims demanding better compensation.

Margit Hudelmaier, 47, chairwoman of the victims, told dpa on Sunday that the Gruenenthal pharmaceuticals company had offered to meet and talk. She said her group had agreed.

In line with a request from company chief executive Sebastian Wirtz, 37, the date of the first meeting would not be disclosed to the media.

The Germans say they received far less per person than British and other victims who gained punitive damages.

The 2,700 still alive out of 5,000 victims - most lack limbs - say a compensation fund set up in 1970 has been exhausted and many now need extra help as arthritis and age bring pain after a lifetime of unnatural movement.

Victims in Spain have only just begun to claim compensation against the company.

The thalidomide dispute hit the headlines in Germany after a two-part, 50th anniversary television dramatization this month. Thalidomide was an over-the-counter sedative that caused foetuses to grow abnormally.

Gruenenthal, based in the German city of Aachen, has said that the 110 million D-marks (83 million dollars at current rates) it paid into trust in 1971 was a final settlement of all claims in Germany.

The trust says the money was exhausted 10 years ago and the modest monthly stipends for victims are now entirely government funded.

DPA

Subject: German news

0 Comments To This Article