No compensation for victims of controversial drug

Image of the Virgen de la Arrixaca hospital in Murcia. Credit: Google maps - Francisco Sanchez

THALIDOMIDE victims HAVE ‘congratulated’ the manufacturer of the controversial drug that caused birth-defects in newborn babies around the world decades ago.

Spanish Thalidomide survivors shot an ironic video congratulating German drug company Grünenthal for winning an appeal filed before the Madrid Provincial Court which nullifies a previous ruling granting financial compensation to the victims of the drug.

The Madrid Court of First Instance had previously ruled in favour of AVITE – acronym for Spanish Thalidomide Victims Association – which filed a lawsuit against Grünenthal back in 2012 asking for €204 million in damages.

That ruling, however, has now been repealed by the Madrid Provincial Court on the grounds that the facts described in the original lawsuit fall under the statute of limitations, which restricts the maximum time after which legal proceedings may be initiated.

In Germany, victims have been paid up to €500 million in compensation, said AVITE. “Ethics should not fall under the statute of limitations” is the message of the video, which shows some of the victims applauding Grünenthal.

During the trial, the plaintiffs presented a study carried out by the University of Heidelberg according to which Thalidomide survivors cope with new, permanent and continuing damages, said AVITE Head Jose Riquelme, adding that the statute of limitations does not apply in this case. “Spain is the only country in the world that has mistreated Thalidomide victims,” he said.

AVITE will continue to fight for compensations as long as they have “breath and life in them,” he remarked.

The association is currently working on a document which will be brought before the Committee on Petitions of the European Parliament in Brussels denouncing the situation facing Spanish Thalidomide victims compared to the rest of the European Union and the world.



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