Thalidomide Injury Lawsuits Leads to $81M Settlement

A half-century after women who were pregnant took Thalidomide to ease their symptoms gave birth to children with severe defects, over 100 victims in New Zealand and Australia have won their class action dangerous drug litigation against distributor Diageo. They will receive an US$81 million settlement.

The drug’s maker Grünenthal was not involved in this latest settlement. (Reuters says that as of 2010 the manufacturer had already paid $680 .77 million in drug injury compensation over Thalidomide. In 2012, Grünenthal apologized to Thalidomide victims.)

According to a study found in the journal Toxicological Sciences, up to 10,000 people in Japan, Europe, and Australia were victims of Thalidomide-more, if you count those in other countries. The drug was promoted as a morning sickness medication. Thousands of babies whose moms took Thalidomide while pregnant were born with serious defects.

The first known victim, a girl, was born with no ears in 1956. Examples of other defects included flipper-like limbs, organ deformities, hearing problems, deafness, blindness, brain damage, defects to the eyes, facial nerves, kidneys, alimentary tract, and urinary tract, spinal problems, and death.

Even though the Food and Drug Administration denied approval of Thalidomide, the drug had already been distributed to thousands of doctors in the US for clinical trials before then. Because of this, thousands American women took Thalidomide during the 1950’s and 1960’s and victims have since come forward to file products liability cases. Among those being sued in the US are Grunenthal GMBH and American companies Merrell Richardson, now Sanofi-Aventis, and Smith, Kline and French, now GlaxoSmithKline.

In September, a US district judge rejected the efforts of a number of pharmaceutical companies to have over 50 drug injury lawsuits over the medication dismissed because they say that the statute of limitations had passed a long time ago. The plaintiffs, whose moms took the drug, said that they did not realize until recently that their birth defects could have been caused by Thalidomide.

Judge Paul Diamond said that right now there is not enough evidence to throw out the thalidomide injury lawsuits. The plaintiffs contend that the defendants were negligent because they knew (or if they didn’t then they should have known) about the possible risks involved with giving the medication to women who were pregnant yet allowed them to take the drug.

At Altman & Altman, LLP we know how devastating it is to find out that your son or daughter was born with serious birth defects because of a dangerous drug. Our Boston drug defect lawyers represent victims and their families. Please contact us today for your free case assessment. You may have grounds for a Massachusetts Thalidomide lawsuit.

Thalidomide Birth Defect Victims Settle Class-Action Suit For $81 Million, Decades After Morning Sickness Pill Was Pulled Off The Market, Medical Daily, December 2, 2013

Living and ageing with birth defects caused by the drug thalidomide, BBC News, July 30, 2013

More Blog Posts:

Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Must Pay $11M & $4M in Topamax Birth Injury Cases, Massachusetts Drug Injury Lawyers Blog, November 25, 2013
Vicodin, Oxycontin, & Percocet Linked to Birth Defects, Massachusetts Drug Injury Lawyers Blog, September 26, 2013

Boston Dangerous Drug Lawsuit Over Meningitis Outbreak Linked to Massachusetts Compound Pharmacy Proceeds, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, September 19, 2013

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