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Thalidomide Settlement Approved

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Media Release

Published on

Slater and Gordon has today welcomed the formal approval of the $89million settlement for Australian and New Zealand thalidomide claimants.

The Victorian Supreme Court this morning endorsed the settlement agreement which had previously been announced to the court in December last year. 

The settlement between Gordon Legal, Slater and Gordon and Diageo plc involved two class actions brought on behalf of 107 thalidomide survivors in Australia and New Zealand.

The class actions had been against Grünenthal, the German inventor and manufacturer of thalidomide, and the UK Distillers companies which distributed the drug in Australia.

While Grünenthal still refuses to assist victims of its catastrophic drug, Diageo (which acquired Distillers in 1986) agreed to a settlement with local thalidomide claimants.

The historic agreement follows Diageo’s agreement in July 2012 to compensate lead plaintiff Lyn Rowe.

Slater and Gordon lawyer Michael Magazanik said today’s formal approval of the settlement was a tremendous result.

“It ends 50 years of injustice for thalidomide survivors in Australia and New Zealand. They have suffered hardship for many years but at least now they will be compensated for their injuries.”

Thalidomide damaged unborn children when taken in early pregnancy. The drug was very popular as a sleeping medication, sedative and morning sickness drug in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

The individual amounts paid to thalidomide claimants will not be disclosed.

This settlement ends both thalidomide class actions in the Supreme Court of Victoria – including the one brought by Lynette Rowe. Both proceedings were being conducted by Gordon Legal and Slater and Gordon.