European Parliament demands Germany to compensate victims in the EU for killer drug

19/12/2016 News Europe , Policy 3380 Views

The European Parliament has demanded compensation for the victims of a German pharmaceutical drug thalidomide,that caused thousands of children to be born with deformities and many more to die, 60 years after the scandal first broke.

German company Grünenthal started selling thalidomide in 1957 as an anti-nausea and dizziness remedy for pregnant women.

EU lawmakers demanded that Berlin amend its forthcoming 2017 “Thalidomide law” so that it does not just pay compensation to German victims but also to other EU nationals, as the drug was not just sold over the counter in West Germany.

The resolution, which received huge support from Spanish MEPs called on Madrid to review its 2010 legislation and set up a new record of those affected by thalidomide, in order to facilitate claims for compensation.

The text also calls on the European Commission to create an EU-wide protocol that will allow all survivors of thalidomide exposure to receive compensation.

Over the last two years, the victims of the drug’s side-effects have brought their plight to the attention of the Parliament and the institution’s president, Martin Schulz, has even got involved with the case.

According to Avite, Spain’s association for people affected by the drug, more than 20,000 newborns worldwide have been affected by thalidomide, 3,000 of those in Spain itself.

The Spanish government officially acknowledged the existence of the affected parties in 2010, when a royal decree approved aid, a measure that MEP and registered doctor Soledad Cabezón (S&D group) has labelled as “insufficient”. She also called the thalidomide scandal “the worst disaster of 21st century medicine”.

In August 2012, the company apologised to those that had been affected and in November 2013 a Madrid court ordered the German outfit to pay out €20,000 for every disability point officially recognised. This ruling was later quashed by two higher Spanish courts.

During, Spanish MEP Esteban González Pons (EPP group) highlighted that thalidomide had been invented by the Nazis and regretted that the victims had to “grow up crying”. He added that “less bureaucracy” was needed to get the families the compensation they deserve.

Cabezón hopes that Germany will fully compensate all victims but warned that it did not relieve the Bundesrepublik of its “responsibility to other countries”.

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