Harrogate thalidomide champion leads german embassy demonstration

30 September 2013

A Harrogate Thalidomide champion is leading a demonstration in London this week (Wednesday, 2 October 2013) to protest against the German Government and German manufacturers of the morning-sickness drug.

Guy Tweedy and a group of fellow victims of Thalidomide will deposit scores of mannequins’ hands and legs on the steps of the German Embassy, as a representation of the defects it caused to thousands of babies in this country and abroad.

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was administered to pregnant women to combat the effects of morning sickness, However, in May 1962 the drug was withdrawn after it was linked to crippling side effects in new born babies.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.

Mr Tweedy and fellow campaigners are now stepping up their campaign for financial compensation from manufacturers Grunenthal.

Mr Tweedy said:

In 1971, the German Government passed a law protecting Grunenthal from anyone taking legal action against it.

It has never paid a single penny of compensation to victims in Australia, Sweden, Canada and the United Kingdom. This is a disgrace and we will keep on fighting until they do the right thing to the survivors who have had to live with the side effects of their drug.

We are depositing plastic limbs on the embassy’s steps because all of those who will be demonstrating have missing or deformed hands, feet arms and legs.

Last year, Grunenthal offered a half-hearted apology to its victims – but they still don’t want to speak to us

What we would ideally like is for the European Health Minister to put pressure on the German Government and Grunenthal to come up with a meaningful compensation package.

Until that day comes we will keep on with our campaign!

In 2007, Mr Tweedy went to Grunenthal’s headquarters in Stolberg, near Aachen, Germany, and met with a representative of the pharmaceutical company. However, this led to nothing of any consequence.

In 2008, Guy and Nick Dobrik, a fellow Thalidomide campaigner, made 38 trips to Germany to help German Thalidomiders with their own compensation campaigns.

As a consequence, the German victims are receiving 123 million Euros a year from the German government.

Wednesday’s demonstration is part of the Show Your Hand campaign, details of which can be found at www.showyourhand.org

The Thalidomide campaign outside the German Embassy, Belgravia, starts at 12.30pm on Wednesday, 2 October 2013.

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