Liberal Democrat MEPs for Yorkshire and the Humber, Rebecca Taylor and Edward McMillan Scott, yesterday attended a cross-party meeting with EU health Commissioner Tonio Borg to discuss finding a resolution to the on-going thalidomide drug scandal.
Thalidomide was created by the German company Grünenthal and was given to pregnant women throughout Europe in the 1950s and 1960s as a “wonder drug” to treat morning sickness. But tens of thousands of these women miscarried, or gave birth to still born babies, or had babies that had severe birth defects.
Last year both Ms Taylor and Mr McMillan-Scott met with leading members of the campaign group ‘Show Your Hand’ – including constituent Guy Tweedy from Harrogate in North Yorkshire – which represents the remaining 468 thalidomide survivors living in the UK today.
Commenting, Rebecca Taylor said:
“We were appalled to hear that Grünenthal still refuses to even discuss taking financial responsibility for UK thalidomide survivors and match the compensation they receive from the British government, which for the moment only covers around fifty per cent of the survivors’ disability-related health costs”
“Along with other MEPs, Edward and I wrote to Health Commissioner Borg to express our concern, and he agreed to a schedule meetings with the MEPs concerned and campaigners to discuss how a solution could be found that would provide the survivors with the help and support they need”
Following yesterday’s meeting, Edward McMillan-Scott said:
“This afternoon’s discussions were fruitful. We asked the Commissioner to do what he can to resolve the thalidomide scandal.”
“We will be following this issue closely, and will be working hard to raise awareness of the scandal and ensure that thalidomide survivors in the UK and across Europe receive the appropriate justice for fifty years of suffering.”