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Irish Thalidomide Survivors Society

thalidomide survivors

The Irish Thalidomide Survivors Society release the following statement.

 

The Irish Thalidomide Survivors Society release the following statement. 
50 years on and Grünenthal think that they can offer an apology now 
An apology will not give us back our childhood, or wrap our full-length arms around our children or grandchildren to console them when they are crying. It will not act as a painkiller when we are awake at nights suffering horrendous pain that no painkiller can cure. It cannot give us dignity when our spouses and personal assistants need to help us change our clothes use the toilet or have a bath. For some it will not allow us to have a normal basic social, lads or girls night out without a mammoth planning exercise.   It will not provide the finances to adapt are homes our cars or even have are clothes made to suit our damaged. So, Mr Stock how valuable is your apology   
50 years on and Grünenthal think that they can offer an apology now
 "On behalf of Grünenthal with its shareholders and all employees, I would like to take the opportunity at this moment of remembrance today to express our sincere regrets about the consequences of thalidomide and our deep sympathy for all those affected, their mothers and their families."
 
"We see both the physical hardship and the emotional stress that the affected, their families and particularly their mothers, had to suffer because of thalidomide and still have to endure day by day."
 
Why apologise then follow the statement with 

"Grünenthal has acted in accordance with the state of scientific knowledge and all industry standards for testing new drugs that were relevant and acknowledged in the 1950s and 1960s. We regret that the teratogenic [capable of resulting in a malformation of an embryo] potential of thalidomide could not be detected by the tests that we and others carried out before it was marketed.".
 
Scientists had good evidence that the placenta was permeable in the late 1800s based on human observations. By the 1930s, a combination of human and animal data had definitively disproven the myth. Moreover, drugs like thalidomide, that crossed the blood brain barrier thereby decreasing nausea, would also be expected to cross the placenta. This was again demonstrated in dogs in 1912. Other aesthetic agents such as opioids, barbiturates, and tranquilizers (e.g., chlorpromazine), were also known before the 1950s to cross the placenta. In 1878, a case was published that reported sodium salicylate was found in the urine of the baby after having been given to the mother 30 minutes prior to delivery.  This appears to be the first time the scientific literature suggested that chemicals were able to cross the placenta. In 1909, alcohol was measured in the umbilical cord blood and revealed to be in the same concentration as in the mother.  Clearly, human and animal data was available in the 1930s that proved drugs did cross the placental barrier. the scientific community was clearly aware of the fact that chemicals could cross the placenta before thalidomide was developed and marketed. 
 
An apology will not give us back our childhood, or wrap our full-length arms around our children or grandchildren to console them when they are crying. It will not act as a painkiller when we are awake at nights suffering horrendous pain that no painkiller can cure. It cannot give us dignity when our spouses and personal assistants need to help us change our clothes use the toilet or have a bath. 
For some it will not allow us to have a normal basic social, lads or girls night out without a mammoth planning exercise.   It will not provide the finances to adapt are homes our cars or even have are clothes made to suit our damaged. So, Mr Stock how valuable is your apology  

 

Statement from The Irish Thalidomide Survivors Society.                  

 position of the members of the Irish thalidomide survivor’s society (ITSS).                                                   

 

Ø  We nether except or reject Minister Harneys offer until all aspects of the proposals are complete. We are not at all satisfied with the Ministers expectations for us to accept a take it or leave proposal, without provision of information or an in-depth symposium regarding the detailed elements of the proposals, or timeframes for implementation.

 

Ø  We cannot comprehend why we would be pressed to agree to Minister Harney’s resent public dictum, quite simply because, there are no details of what we are accepting. We cannot possible accept the monitory part of Minister Harney’s proposal if a health care package is not adequate to maintain our financial burden's.

 

Ø  We have met with and had written correspondence with the State Claims Agency. This meeting was instigated by the Oireachtas Committee on Health / Children.  We are thankful and recognise the value of the advocacy work done by the Oireachtas Committee and welcome their undertaking of the cause of the Irish thalidomide survivor’s.  However, it was apparent after our meeting with State Claims Agency that a resolution to our case had already been reached and that our input was of very little consequence.  We were also very troubled to find that there were serious inaccuracies concerning the content of our meeting published in the body of the final State Claims Agency report.

                                                            

Ø  There is too much emphasis is on the UK government settlement.   We feel the public are not fully informed to the UK circumstance and we find the state claims agency is in the same predicament, the government in the UK, has agreed to make a three year grant of £20m to help meet the health needs of thalidomiders.  The trustees of the will be free to apply these funds as they see fit.  All grants from the Welsh Scottish and Northern Irish will be paid in one lump sum to the trustees of the British thalidomide trust and added to the already existing fund of approximately €140 million which is likely to be increased by contributions from the devolved administrations in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on a ongoing basis. Support has been received from all parties in the House of Commons and it is fully expected to secure funding on a more long-term basis after 2012 for the rest of the lifetime of the thalidomiders. 

Ø  Concerning transport difficulties, majority of us already avail of the Disabled Drivers Schemes and disability allowance as we are entitled to do so as Irish disabled citizen with mobility problems. These schemes have been available to those of us who require assistance many years.  Therefore, Minister Harney is merely giving us what we already have. For those of us that need extensive adaptations, these schemes alone fall extremely short of the financial costs to our more severely debilitated Thalidomider’s. The costs of adaptations can vary as much as our disabilities. We have already drawn attention to this in previous meeting with Minister Harney and were promised that this would be resolved. However, how this is to be achieved as with all other aspects of Minster Harneys proposals is still vague.  

                                                           

Ø  We are only thirty one persons eleven severely disabled and have lead very challenging lives,  

Minister for Health and Children has authorised access to the Department records associated with the Thalidomide Settlement of 1974. As soon as these records are released, it is our intention they will be examined by our legal representatives.

Finally, In terms of our continuing relationship with the department. We wish to have a more progressive dialogue /  additional input and without media involvement.  as opposed to a public rejection concerning the said proposals.  

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EU talks in campaign for drug settlement

Published on the

08 January

2014

00:01

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A THALIDOMIDE victim from Yorkshire is to hold talks with the EU Health Commissioner as he steps up his fight for justice against the German pharmaceutical company which developed the anti-morning sickness drug.

 

Guy Tweedy and four colleagues – who are representing the UK’s 469 remaining Thalidomiders – have secured a meeting on Friday with Antonio Borges, in the hope of brokering a compensation talks with Grunenthal and the German government.

 

The meeting comes after a concerted lobbying campaign of UK MEPs by leading Thalidomide victims, who aim to secure a financial settlement from Grunenthal for UK, Swedish, Canadian and Australian victims of the “wonder drug”.

 

Mr Tweedy, 51, a businessman from Harrogate, said: “Over the last few months we have had a series of meetings with UK MEPs and, thanks to their support of our campaign, we now have a face to face meeting with Mr Borges.

 

“We hope we will be able to persuade him to use his influence to mediate a solution that will lead to us sitting down with representatives of both Grunenthal and the German government, and, ultimately, receiving compensation for the lasting damage their drug has done.”

 

Mr Tweedy, who was born with shortened arms and fingers fused together, added: “In 1971, the German government passed a law protecting Grunenthal from anyone taking legal action against it in relation to Thalidomide.

 

“However, the company needs to own up to its responsibilities and help those who have been living with the side effects of 
Thalidomide for more than 50 years.”

 

Thalidomide was administered to pregnant women to combat the effects of morning sickness, however, in May 1962 the drug was withdrawn after it was linked to crippling side effects in new-born babies.

 

At least 2,000 babies in the UK were born with deformities brought about directly by Thalidomide, and more than half
of them died within their first 
year.


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