Thalidomide maker apologises

The German company that made anti-morning sickness drug thalidomide has apologised to the thousands of children born without limbs as a result of its use. Harald Stock, chief executive of pharmaceutical company Gruenenthal, said it was "very sorry".

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Thalidomide survivor: Apology is insulting

An apology should be an unreserved apology and not a conditional apology. It is strange when a company gives an apology which is not the truth, but is a lie.

We feel that a sincere and genuine apology is one which actually admits wrongdoing. The company has not done that and has really insulted the Thalidomiders.

– Thalidomide survivor Nick Dobrik talking to the BBC Radio 4 Today programme

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Timeline of how the Thalidomide scandal unfolded

It has taken half a century for the victims of birth defect pregnancy drug Thalidomide to receive an apology from its German inventors.

Here is a timeline of key events in the decades-long Thalidomide scandal:

  • 1953 - The drug was created in Germany by the Grunenthal Group.
  • 1958 - Thalidomide was first licensed for use in the UK.
  • 1961 - An increase in deformed babies being born is discovered - all to mothers who had taken thalidomide. The drug was withdrawn later that year.
  • 1968 - UK manufacturers Distillers Biochemicals Limited (now Diageo) reach a compensation settlement following a legal battle by the families of those affected.
  • 2004 - Thalidomide is made available on a named patient basis, but under strict controls.

Thalidomide maker expresses 'sincere regrets' over drug

The chief executive of the German pharmaceutical company Gruenenthal - who made the anti-morning sickness drug thalidomide - has apologised. Here is an extract of his speech:

On behalf of Gruenenthal with its shareholders and all employees, I would like to take the opportunity at this moment of remembrance today to express our sincere regrets about the consequences of thalidomide and our deep sympathy for all those affected, their mothers and their families. We see both the physical hardship and the emotional stress that the affected, their families and particularly their mothers, had to suffer because of thalidomide and still have to endure day by day.

Thalidomide manufacturer makes long-awaited apology 50 years on

The German manufacturer of anti-morning sickness drug thalidomide has made an apology five decades on to the thousands of children born without limbs as a result of its use.

The apology by the German inventors, pharmaceutical company Gruenenthal is made in a speech given today by its chief executive Harald Stock at the inauguration of a special memorial in Stolberg.

A Thalidomide baby is pictured in London in 1963.
A Thalidomide baby is pictured in London in 1963. Credit: PA/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The advance text of the speech, published on the company's main website, refers to a Mr Igel, thought to be Johannes Igel who campaigned for donations towards the "erection or maintenance" of a public memorial in Stolberg commemorating the victims of the thalidomide.

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Thalidomide victims reject apology

A British charity has rejected an apology from the German company which invented the birth defect drug Thalidomide.

Protest outside the German Embassy in London in 2008
Protest outside the German Embassy in London in 2008 Credit: ITV News

The Grunenthal Group, apologising for the first time in 50 years, said it "regrets" the consequences of the drug which was used to combat morning sickness. But Thalidomide UK Agency said the company should "put their money where their mouth is" rather than just say sorry.