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, please download our application form: New member form
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