19 Jul 2012

Precedent set in Australian thalidomide settlement

12:08 am on 19 July 2012

A multi-million dollar settlement has been reached with the distributors of the controversial thalidomide drug in Australia.

The case was brought by a Melbourne woman born with no arms or legs, the ABC reports.

Lynette Rowe, 50, took legal action against German drug company Grunenthal along with the Distillers company and UK firm Diageo, which were responsible for marketing thalidomide in Australia.

Ms Rowe was born with no arms or legs after her mother took thalidomide to treat morning sickness and anxiety during her pregnancy.

She was in tears on Wednesday as the announcement of the settlement was made in the Victorian Supreme Court.

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

The amount is confidential.

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 the 100 other people affected by the drug who are part of the class action.

Many more are expected to come forward to make claims against the company.