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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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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 The drug was withdrawn later that year.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.

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