Pressemeddelelse fra EU
MEPs call for better access to compensation for Thalidomide victims
PLENARY SESSION Press release - Public health − 15-12-2016 - 13:13
Over fifty years after the Thalidomide tragedy, in which a German-made morning sickness
medicine for pregnant women caused malformations in their babies in several EU countries,
victims are still fighting for fair compensation. MEPs call on the EU and its member states to
ensure that all EU citizens affected have access to similar compensation, in a resolution voted on
MEPs urge the EU member states and Commission to coordinate actions and measures to
recognise and provide compensation to Thalidomide survivors, in a non-binding resolution passed
by a show of hands.
The German Federal Government should allow victims access to the Special Health Fund set up in
Germany, as the country bears a particular responsibility, they say.
They ask that thalidomide survivors from the UK, Spain, Italy, Sweden and other member states be
admitted to the scheme on a group basis, provided that their status as Thalidomide-affected
individuals has been accepted as bona fide in their own countries.
The EU Commission should create a framework protocol at EU level, under which all EU citizens
affected by Thalidomide would receive similar amounts of compensation, and draw up an EU
programme of assistance and support to victims and their families, say MEPs.
Independently-verified research shows that in 1970, the German Federal Republic interfered with
the criminal proceedings against Chemie Grünenthal GmbH, the German manufacturer of
Thalidomide, and, as a result, no proper determination of the manufacturer’s guilt could be
established. Moreover, steps were taken to prevent civil proceedings against this company, say
MEPs also ask the Spanish authorities to review the process started by the government in 2010
and facilitate the proper identification and compensation of Thalidomide survivors.
Note to editors
Thalidomide was marketed in the late 1950s and early 1960s as a safe drug to treat morning
sickness, headaches, coughs, insomnia and the common cold. It resulted in the death and
malformation of thousands of babies when taken by pregnant women in many European countries.
Independently verified documents from the time of the scandal show that there was a major lack of
effective pharmaceutical surveillance in the Federal Republic of Germany, unlike in other countries
such as the USA, France, Portugal and Turkey.
Procedure: non-legislative resolution
REF. : 20161208IPR55202