Thalidomide victims to meet EU health chief

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A VICTIM of the drug Thalidomide from Yorkshire will head to Strasbourg next week for a crucial meeting with European Union officials.

Guy Tweedy, along with fellow campaigners Nick Dobrik and Mikey Argy, representing the UK’s remaining 469 Thalidomide victims, will be joined by a number of MEPs for the round-table talks with Health Commissioner Tonio Borg.

The meeting on Tuesday is the latest step in the the long-
running campaign for justice against Chemi Grunenthal, the German pharmaceutical company which developed the anti-morning sickness drug in the 1950s.

Campaigners hope Mr Borg can broker a meeting between them, Grunenthal and the German Government.

Mr Tweedy, a 51-year-old businessman from Harrogate who was born with shortened arms and fingers fused together, said their ultimate goal was a financial settlement from Grunenthal.

He said: “When we first started our long campaign for justice we were told there was no point because our chance of success was nil.

“By never giving up we have secured a number of concessions from the UK government, plus a much needed health grant for every British Thalidomide victim.

“We will only stop our fight once Grunenthal, which has never paid a penny to UK, Swedish and other European victims of its ‘wonder drug’, owns up to its moral duties and compensates those its product damaged for life.”

Thalidomide was administered to pregnant women to combat the effects of morning sickness but the drug was withdrawn in 1962 after it was linked to crippling side effects in newborn babies.

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

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