Thalidomide Victim wins settlement from distributor

A Victorian lady has won a multi-million-dollar legal  payment from a company responsible for distributing the controversial Thalidomide drug in Australia.

Lynette Rowe, aged 50,sued the German drug company Grunenthal as wells as the Distillers company and UK company Diageo, which were responsible for marketing Thalidomide in Australia.

She was born with no limbs after her mother took Thalidomide to treat morning sickness.

The decision means Ms Rowe will receive compensation and provided with care for the rest of her life.

The decision is a relief to her ageing parents, who have looked after her all her life. They have been worried about what would happen to her after they were no longer able to look after her.

Her father Ian Rowe paid tribute to his daughter after the court hearing, saying he was very proud of what she had achieved saying “You don’t need arms and legs to change the world”.

Only the companies responsible for distributing the drug in Australia and New Zealand have settled the class action. The court was told no settlement has yet been reached with Thalidomide’s maker Grunenthal.

Diageo PLC bought Distillers, which was licensed to sell the drugs in Australia and New Zealand in the 1960s, in 1997.

The company has also agreed to negotiate compensation for 100 other people affected by the drug who are part of the class action but many more people are expected to come forward to make claims against the company.

Melbourne lawyer Peter Gordon worked on the claim and said he was delighted with the outcome especially for those who have lived with terrible injuries their entire lives.

He advised however that no settlement has been reached with Grunenthal, the manufacturer of the drug and has called on the company to take responsibility for the “thalidomide disaster” which had affected people around the world.