Australian to lead thalidomide suit

Jun 25, 2011

An Australian woman born without arms and legs will lead a mass lawsuit against the German and British firms behind thalidomide, a sedative blamed for birth defects, lawyers said Saturday.

Lynette Rowe, who has been cared for around the clock by her parents since her birth in 1962, is to head a class action against German chemical firm Grunenthal, makers of , and British-based distributor Distillers.

The suit, to be lodged in Victoria's Supreme Court, will seek payouts for Australians not yet compensated for caused by the drug between 1958 and 1970, said leading law firm Slater and Gordon.

"There (are) a significant number of people affected by thalidomide who have never been compensated, or even had the psychological satisfaction of an explanation for the they have lived with for 50 years," said lawyer Peter Gordon.

"The legal action we are taking is an attempt to address those issues."

The firm won a multi-million dollar suit for 45 thalidomide victims in Australia and New Zealand against Britain's Diageo last year and claims to have uncovered evidence that drug makers knew more about the dangers than they let on.

A predecessor company of Diageo bought Distillers in 1986.

"Grunenthal and treated Australia as a priority and ensured this country was flooded with thalidomide," said lawyer Michael Magazanik, who has just returned from a fact-finding mission to Europe.

"By the time investigators identified thalidomide as the cause of the skyrocketing rate of injuries, there were another eight million thalidomide tablets in warehouses around Australia, ready to be sent to doctors' surgeries and chemists," he added.

Up to 100 Australians are estimated to have never received compensation for thalidomide conditions, including Rowe, who -- if she wins her case -- stands to receive one of the biggest personal injury payouts in Australian history.

Explore further: Xtoro approved for swimmer's ear

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Japan may regulate thalidomide

Jun 13, 2006

Doctors in Japan will be required to register patients who are using the drug thalidomide under proposed regulations, the Japan Times reported.

Japan team uncovers thalidomide mystery

Mar 12, 2010

Japanese scientists have uncovered how thalidomide led to deformities in children born to mothers taking the drug in the 1950s and 1960s, according to a study released Friday.

Thalidomide film to air in Germany

May 19, 2007

A film about the drug thalidomide, which caused thousands of children to be born disabled, will air on German television.

New insights into thalidomide-birth defect episode

Nov 10, 2008

Scientists in Germany have discovered why the medication thalidomide appeared safe in animal tests before going on the market 50 years ago, only to cause perhaps the most extensive outbreak of drug-induced birth defects in ...

Solving the 50-year-old puzzle of thalidomide

Nov 17, 2009

Research into the controversial drug thalidomide reveals that the mechanism through which the drug causes limb defects is the same process which causes it to damage internal organs and other tissues. The article, published ...

New use for once-cursed drug Thalidomide?

Apr 04, 2010

Thalidomide, the sedative blamed for tragic birth defects half a century ago, treated a rare inherited blood disorder, according to lab experiments reported on Sunday.

Recommended for you

Xtoro approved for swimmer's ear

10 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Xtoro (finafloxacin otic suspension) eardrops have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat swimmer's ear, clinically known as acute otitis externa.

Drug interaction identified for ondansetron, tramadol

10 hours ago

(HealthDay)—In the early postoperative period, ondansetron is associated with increased requirements for tramadol consumption, according to a review and meta-analysis published online Dec. 10 in Anaesthesia.

New system targets germs in donated blood plasma

Dec 17, 2014

(HealthDay)—A new system designed to eliminate germs in donated blood plasma and reduce the risk of transmitting a plasma-borne infection has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Judge halts Alzheimer's drug swap until July

Dec 16, 2014

A federal judge has ordered an Irish drug manufacturer to halt its plans to discontinue its widely used Alzheimer's medication, allegedly in an effort to drive patients to a newer patented drug.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.