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Government’s cold-hearted Thalidomide rationale

By Laurence White

Published 16/11/2009

It was 50 years ago that the Thalidomide drug was licensed for use in the United Kingdom.

The real tragedy was that the drug helped fight the symptoms of morning sickness in pregnant women. Thousands took it and almost 500 babies were born with stunted limbs.

Although those affected by the drug received compensation from Distillers, the company that distributed Thalidomide in the UK, the Government always refused to pay up. Now there is an indication that it may be changing its mind. The Government is considering a multi-million pound settlement which would give each of the survivors around £18,000 a year.

The scandal of Thalidomide is equalled only by the scandal of the Government attempting to wash its hands of the consequences for half a century. It probably now calculates that it can afford compensation as Thalidomide victims enter their 50s. This is not the action of a caring administration, but of a cold-hearted actuary.

Belfast Telegraph

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