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Spain's Forgotten Thalidomiders

A pair of feet shows the effects of thalidomide
Crossing Continents
Thursday, 8 November 2007
At 1102 GMT on BBC Radio 4

Fifty years after Thalidomide was first launched, those born with disabilities caused by the drug in Spain still have not received any form of compensation.

The Spanish authorities have always refused to confirm that thalidomide was licensed and distributed in Spain.

Before the elections in 2004 both political parties promised to change things. Jose Luis Rodriquez Zapatero's socialists said they would set up a series of tests to establish how many people were affected by Thalidomide in Spain.

But more than three years on the Spanish Thalidomiders are disillusioned.

Despite having undergone rigorous testing, none have been definitively confirmed as suffering Thalidomide damage and some have been told by the Ministry of Health that their only chance of compensation is if they can produce the prescription or pill bottle given to their mothers more than 40 years ago.

Crossing Continents travels to Murcia in Spain to meet Pepe Riquelme who for the past 20 years has run a one man campaign for justice for the survivors of Thalidomide.

As Pepe says: "It's not just about financial compensation. It's about a moral compensation for the 50 years we have lost."

BBC Radio 4's Crossing Continents will be broadcast on Thursday, 8 November 2007 at 1102 GMT. It will be repeated on Monday, 12 November 2007 at 2030 GMT

Reporter: Geoff Adams-Spink
Producer: Anna Raphael

Crossing Continents


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Country profile: Spain
04 Sep 07 |  Country profiles


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