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Last Updated: Friday, 28 January, 2005, 00:28 GMT
Extra Thalidomide payment agreed
Thalidomide was marketed as an insomnia treatment
People affected by Thalidomide are to receive an extra compensation payment.

The drug caused birth defects in children whose mothers took it in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

A compensation settlement was agreed with Distillers, the company which marketed the drug, and Thalidomide survivors receive annual payments.

But the company, now part of Diageo, has said it will offer an extra one-off payment worth 70% of people's annual payments, reports Disability Now.

1953 - Drug created in Germany
1957 - Marketed to the public as a 'wonder drug' for insomnia, colds, coughs and headaches
1958 - Licensed in the UK
1961 - William McBride, an Australian doctor, wrote to the Lancet after noticing a sudden increase in the number of deformed babies born at his hospital - all to mothers who had taken thalidomide.
The drug was withdrawn from use in November that year.
1968 - First UK compensation settlements reached with manufacturers Distillers Biochemicals Limited
1998 - Approved by the US Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for a complication of leprosy
2004 - Thalidomide available on a named patient basis and as part of clinical trials in the UK

On average, people are receiving around 13,000 a year.

Thalidomide was withdrawn in 1961 after around 10,000 babies had been born with disabilities, such as the characteristic stunted arms or legs.

Some babies were born with no limbs at all.

The Thalidomide Trust, which distributes monies to the 459 people in Britain affected by Thalidomide, said many of those affected were now having to make expensive lifestyle changes - such as adaptations to their home.

Chairman Dr Martin Johnson said that as Thalidomide survivors reached 40, some of those without full use of their arms began to experience problems with their hips because they had used them more than able-bodied people would have done.

Some have had to move from accommodation with two floors to a home with one, due to reduced mobility, he said.

"People have various issues to do with things like this because their bodies have started letting them down.

"But many have had to mortgage some of their future income to sort out immediate problems."

He added: "Diageo agreed this payment was a very reasonable thing. It was totally unexpected.

"Money can't buy you arms and legs if you haven't got them, but it can take a lot of stress out of your life."

Thalidomide campaign victory
21 Jul 04 |  North Yorkshire

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