27th May 2015
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 (27 May 2015) 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.
MEPs Ashley Fox (UK ECR), David Sassoli (Italy, S&D), Esteban Gonzalez Pons (Spain, EPP), and Matthias Groote (Germany S&D), with other MEPs were speaking in support of a Europe-wide campaign of survivors 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 has 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", argues South West MEP, Ashley Fox in support of the campaign. "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.