A Yorkshire Thalidomide victim is heading to Strasbourg for a crucial follow-up meeting next week with the EU Health commissioner.
Guy Tweedy, along with fellow campaigners, Nick Dobrik and Mikey Argy – who are representing the UK’s remaining 469 Thalidomide victims – will be joined by a number of MEPs for the round-table talks with Tonio Borg.
The meeting, taking place on Tuesday, 25 February 2014, is the latest step in the Thalidomide victim’s long-running campaign for justice against Chemi Grunenthal, the German pharmaceutical company which developed the anti-morning sickness drug in the 1950s.
Last month, the delegation – who all suffer from varying degrees of deformities brought about as a direct result of their mothers taking the drug – were granted an audience with Mr Borg, following a concerted lobbying campaign of UK MEPs.
The hope of the campaigners is that they can persuade Maltese Mr Borg to initiate a meeting between them, Grunenthal and the German Government.
Mr Tweedy, a 51-year-old businessman from Harrogate, said: At the last meeting Mr Borg posed a number of questions, including why we want to involve the German government, which we will answer on Tuesday.
We have gone away, done our homework and consulted a number of experts to ensure our answers will satisfy Mr Borg, which we hope will then take us one step closer to our ultimate goal – a financial settlement from Grunenthal.
Mr Tweedy – who was born with shortened arms and fingers fused together, added: When we first started our long campaign for justice we were told there was no point because our chance of success was nil.
By never giving up we have secured a number of concessions from the UK government, plus a much needed health grant for every British Thalidomide victim.
We will only stop our fight once Grunenthal, which has never paid a penny to UK, Swedish and other European victims of its ‘wonder drug’, owns up to its moral duties and compensates those its product damaged for life.
Thalidomide was administered to pregnant women to combat the effects of morning sickness, however, in May 1962 the drug was withdrawn after it was linked to crippling side effects in new born babies.
A least 2,000 in the UK were born with deformities brought about directly by Thalidomide, and more than half of them died within their first year. An unknown number also died in the womb.