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Australian Woman Awarded Millions in Thalidomide Lawsuit

Filed July 19th, 2012 Laurie

An Australian woman born without arms or legs because her mother took the anti-morning sickness drug Thalidomide while she was pregnant has reached a multimillion-dollar settlement with the drug’s British distributor. The German maker of Thalidomide refused to settle.

Fifty-year-old Lynette Rowe is leading a class-action suit on behalf of children born with congenital birth defects linked to the medication. Thalidomide was given to pregnant women during the 1950s and 1960s to treat morning sickness but was pulled from the market in 1961 after it was linked to birth defects. Thousands of babies suffered deformities as a result of their pregnant mothers taking Thalidomide.

Rowe sued German drugmaker Grunenthal, UK-based Distillers Company (Biochemicals) Ltd. — which sold the drug in Australia — and Diageo Scotland Ltd., the successor company to Distillers. According to the complaint, Grunenthal should have known the drug was linked to birth defects when it was on the market.

Rowe reportedly settled for several million dollars, though the exact amount was not made public.

There have been countless Thalidomide claims filed all over the world over the years, resulting in settlements from all three companies, many for millions of dollars. The British government officially apologized to people hurt by the drug after earlier agreeing to pay $31 million to Thalidomide victims.

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