Thalidomide victims win cash payout

By Marcus Dysch, December 23, 2009

Two Jewish Thalidomide victims have welcomed the success of a long-running campaign which will see the government paying sufferers £20 million in compensation.

Guy Tweedy and Nick Dobrick had called for greater recognition for sufferers for seven years.

The Department of Health has now agreed to spread the payment to the Thalidomide Trust over a three-year period. The charity will share the money between Britain’s 463 surviving Thalidomide victims.

It is thought at least 1,000 children were born with severe deformities in the 1950s and 1960s after their mothers were prescribed the drug as a treatment for morning sickness or insomnia while pregnant.

Mr Tweedy, 47, of Harrogate, north Yorkshire, said: “This is a significant day in the long-running battle to get a fair and just settlement for the victims of this wicked drug.

“Our campaign, which was fought with dignity and determination, has always been about justice and not entitlement. For more than 50 years we have had to live with the consequences of our mothers taking this ‘wonder drug’.”

During the campaign, Mr Tweedy and Mr Dobrik, of Hampstead, north west London, met 150 MPs including former Health Secretary Alan Johnson and Health Minister Mike O’Brien; saw more than 275 MPs sign an early day motion calling on the government to introduce a final settlement package to victims; and achieved a government climb-down over taxation paid on victims’ compensation.

Last updated: 4:16pm, December 23 2009