Between 1957 and 1962, the German drug company, Chemi Grünenthal, licensed the worldwide manufacture of thalidomide, ‘a wonder drug,’ marketed as a safe treatment for women suffering primarily from morning sickness and insomnia, during the initial stages of pregnancy. However, the drug had not been robustly tested and early warning signs were ignored.
In Britain, Distillers took up a licence and marketed the drug under the Distaval label. As a result, over 650 babies were born with thalidomide-induced impairments which ranged from extra digits to tetraphocomelia (an impairment affecting all four limbs). It took more than half a decade to win acceptable compensation from Distillers.
In 1962 the Thalidomide Society was formed by parents of children affected by thalidomide, funded by the Lady Hoare Trust. The aim was primarily to fight for compensation for children affected by the drug and to help support those children and their families. Today the society has just over 150 members and aims to conserve the thalidomide story for future generations as well as offering support and social networks for anyone affected by thalidomide or with similar dysmelic impairments.
Please browse through the Thalidomide Society website and if you are eligible and interested in becoming a member, you can download our application form: New-member-form
You can read our 2014 Newsletter as well as ones from previous years.
Please note that the website is currently going through a long process of renovation and we appreciate your patience whilst we make improvements to the information here. Please contact the Secretary of the Thalidomide Society at the email address above should you require any clarification or further information not yet included. We are also interested to hear your thoughts and opinions on what you would like to see on the the Society’s website.
The Society has recently set up a account where you can give money to the Society whilst also having a chance to win a cash prize. Visit the Unity Lottery webpage where you can find more information, sign up online download an application form.
Audio clips from our recent oral history project can be found here. We are currently running an oral history project with the parents of people born affected by the drug so please do contact us if you or anyone you know might be interested in participating.
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