Irish Thalidomide survivors reject manufacturer's apology
on 01/09/2012 13:59:37
Thalidomide was prescribed to pregnant mothers in the 1950s to counter the effects of morning sickness but was linked to birth defects, such as being born with no limbs.
There are 32 survivors of the Thalidomide tragedy in Ireland, who are now approaching their fifties.
The Association said: "Grünenthal have issued an apology while saying they did no wrong. This is meaningless."
The group also accused the Government here of failing to remove the drug Thalidomide from the shelves for almost a year after all other countries had removed it.
It has been 50 years since the drug was pulled off the market.
The drug caused thousands of babies to be born with shortened arms and legs or no limbs at all.
The chief executive of Grünenthal Group who made Thalidomide in the 1950s and 60s Harald Stock has said the company was "very sorry" it had remained silent on the issue.
Harald Stock said: "We ask for forgiveness that for nearly 50 years we didn't find a way of reaching out to you from human being to human being."
He continued: "We ask that you regard our long silence as a sign of the shock that your fate caused in us."
Stock spoke in the west German city of Stolberg, where the company is based, during the unveiling of a bronze statue symbolising a child born without limbs because of thalidomide.
Thalidomide was given to pregnant women mostly to combat morning sickness, but led to a wave of birth defects in Europe, Australia, Canada and Japan.
Thalidomide was never approved for use in pregnant women in the United States.
Grünenthal settled a lawsuit in Germany in 1972, 11 years after stopping sales of the drug and voiced its regret to the victims.
But for decades, the company refused to admit liability, saying it had conducted all necessary clinical trials required at the time.