Written by Jose Renju
SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia will issue a national apology to all those affected by ‘thalidomide tragedy’, PM says Anthony Albanese He made the remarks Monday, more than half a century after a baby was born with birth defects after his mother took morning sickness medication.
Thalidomide was the active ingredient in a sedative that was widely distributed to many mothers in Australia and around the world in the early 1960s. It was found to cause malformations in the limbs, facial features, and internal organs of the fetus.
“The thalidomide tragedy is a dark chapter in the history of our country and the world,” Albanese said in a statement. “Survivors, their families, friends, and caregivers have advocated for this apology for years with courage and conviction. This moment marks the end of all they have endured and all they have fought for. This is long-awaited national recognition.”
The thalidomide scandal sparked a global overhaul of drug testing regimes and boosted the reputation of the US Food and Drug Administration. It turns out that even though thalidomide was distributed for testing in the United States, there were only a few voices refusing to approve it. The British government apologized to the victims in 2010.
Thalidomide, developed by Germany’s Grünenthal, has killed an estimated 80,000 children before they were born around the world and left an additional 20,000 born with disabilities.
An Australian woman born without limbs after her mother took thalidomide won a multimillion-dollar settlement from local distributor Diageo in 2012. In 2010, Diageo agreed to pay A$50 million ($32 million) to 45 victims in Australia and New Zealand.
Albanians are scheduled to apologize in parliament on November 29th. There are 146 thalidomide survivors registered with the government, but the exact number of people affected is unknown.
“In making this apology, we honor all the babies who died, the families who mourn them, and those who survived but whose lives have been made even more difficult by the effects of this terrible drug,” Ms Albanese said. Stated.
($1 = 1.5716 Australian Dollar)
(Reporting by Renju Jose in Sydney; Editing by Tom Hogue and Gerry Doyle)