Welsh victims of the thalidomide drug are set to get £1.9 million medical injury compensation from the Welsh government. It will be in addition to the £20 million promised by the British Government through the thalidomide trust to survivors of the scandal. The £1.9 million will be split equally among the 31 Welsh victims of the drug and will be used to improve their care and stem their health deteriorating further.
Thalidomide was a drug given to pregnant women during the late 1950s to combat morning sickness and insomnia. It was withdrawn in 1961 after it was discovered that the drug was causing physical birth defects – including limb deformities – in the children of the users.
The Welsh First Minister insisted that responsibility for compensation rested with the licensers of the drug, the British Government, and was pleased that they expressed regret for the scandal when unveiling the £20 million pound plan in January. He stated that the Welsh Assembly compensation was “additional funding to ensure that people affected by thalidomide in Wales receive the care and support they need.”
Nick Dobrik of the Thalidomide Trust welcomed the news, thanking the “Welsh Assembly Government for its speed and generosity in contributing to helping thalidomiders maintain their independence.”