Aging thalidomide victims require increased funding claims MP

June 24, 2009 at 12:54 pm 2 comments

nhs

A Liberal Democrat MP has aked the government to consider a new compensation scheme for NHS thalidomide victims.

The drug was prescribed worldwide from 1957 until 1961 when it was withdrawn from the market after being found to be the cause of severe defects to babies caused during pregnancy.

It was used as a tranquiliser and painkiller and to counter morning sickness, which led to thousands of pregnant women taking the drug.

Mike O’Brien, Minister of State at the Department of Health, told MPs:

“Thalidomide victims have some compensation through a private settlement agreed by the Thalidomide Trust and Diageo plc. Government policy is not to make ex gratia payments to a patient whose health has been harmed by a drug, where the responsibility lies with a company.”

Roger Williams, who had raised the issue during Health Questions, said more money was required.

“The victims of thalidomide are now considerably older than they were when the initial scheme was established, and their needs are greater,” he said.

“Many are now unable to work, and the cost of acquiring the necessary equipment to support them is often prohibitive.

“Will the Minister look again at the funds that remain available for thalidomide victims, and will he have discussions with Treasury colleagues about the possibility of increasing that funding?”

Mr O’Brien again ruled out any further compensation but said there may be an NHS solution.

“I am prepared to discuss that with those who represent thalidomide victims, who would perhaps be in a position to use some of the direct payment initiatives that we are considering in the Health Bill, which is currently before the House,” he said.

“That might provide us with some way of better serving those who are dealing with that condition.”

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Pregnancy & Childbirth related services in Hampshire  |  June 24, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    […] Aging thalidomide victims require increased funding claims MP […]

    Reply
  • 2. Ivo Cerckel  |  June 25, 2009 at 12:15 am

    “The drug was prescribed worldwide from 1957 until 1961 when it was withdrawn from the market after being found to be the cause of severe defects to babies caused during pregnancy.”

    The whistle on thalidomide was blown on 30 April- 1 May 1960 at a Dusseldorf Congress of neurologists.

    Thalidomide was only withdrawn from the market by its manufacturer, not by the regulators who had allowed in the first place, on 27 November 1961, that’s eighteen months later.

    Me was born February 1962.

    http://bphouse.com/honest_money/thalidomide-victims-of-debt-driven-political-economy/

    Reply

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