The lack of proper compensation for survivors of the Thalidomide tragedy is a continuing scandal, says County and West Midlands Euro MP Phil Bennion.

Show Your Hand Thalidomide graphicThe Lib Dem MEP has declared his support for the 'Show Your Hand' Campaign for people living with serious deformities from birth caused by the drug.

The Liberal Democrat MEP has twice written to the pharmaceutical giant, Grunenthal, to seek justice, a formal apology and full compensation.

Thalidomide was widely used during the 1950s and 1960s to combat nausea in pregnant women and has left many children and adults with debilitating disabilities and illnesses. The Thalidomide tragedy was recently described as the worst drugs scandal of all time.

Phil Bennion has also written to the European Health Commissioner, Tonio Borg, to seek his intervention and possible mediation in the long-running dispute.

Phil Bennion said: "I know that many victims and their descendants are still trying to deal with the awful ramifications of Thalidomide to this day. It is a continuing scandal that no proper compensation has been paid to the victims or their families.

"I have written to Grunenthal twice now. I have received a reply claiming that the company realises its moral responsibilities, pointing to their recently established Grunenthal Foundation which provides 'individual benefits in kind' to support survivors in their daily life.

"While this Foundation might be helpful in some respects, it does not replace the need for full and proper compensation for survivors and their families, in particular those living in the UK.

"This is the most serious drug scandal in modern times. 50 years on there are now only 455 Thalidomide survivors left in the UK known to the Thalidomide Trust, coping with disabilities ranging from missing limbs to serious internal deformities.

"Given the life-changing trauma suffered by these people and their parents and families at the hands of this drug company, generous direct compensation should be made.

"The remaining survivors deserve more than 'benefits in kind'. They are entitled to enough compensation to ensure independence in meeting the escalating costs of dealing with the multiple disabilities and debilitating conditions caused by the drug in old age."


For more information on the campaign see: