Thalidomide victim wins millions
Jul 18 2012
An Australian woman leading a class action lawsuit has reached a multi-million settlement with the British distributor of an anti-morning sickness drug that she says caused her birth defects, her lawyer said.
Lynette Rowe, 50, of Melbourne, was born without arms or legs after her mother took the drug thalidomide while pregnant.
Thalidomide was given to pregnant women in the 1950s and 1960s as a treatment for morning sickness, but was removed from the market in 1961 after it was linked to birth defects. It led to deformities in thousands of babies across the world.
Ms Rowe led the Australian class action against three parties - German drug-maker Grunenthal, UK-based Distillers Company (Biochemicals), which sold the drug in Australia, and Diageo Scotland, the successor company to Distillers.
The lawsuit claims Grunenthal should have known thalidomide was linked to birth defects when it was on the market.
Ms Rowe's lawyer, Peter Gordon, told Victoria Supreme Court his client had reached a settlement with Diageo and Distillers. Grunenthal declined to settle.
Exact terms of the settlement were confidential, but Ms Rowe's lawyers said it was several million dollars. The lawsuit asked for compensation for the victims' pain and suffering, lost wages and future medical care.
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