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Thalidomide - Statement re Grunenthal apology for Lynette Rowe

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Media Release

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The apology issued by Grunenthal to thalidomide survivors is pathetic: it is too little, too late and riddled with further deceit.

To suggest that its long silence before today ought to be put down to ‘silent shock’ on its part is insulting nonsense. For 50 years Grunenthal has been engaged in a calculated corporate strategy to avoid the moral, legal and financial consequences of its reckless and negligent actions of the 1950s and 1960s. 

The right way for Grunenthal to atone for its long silence is to open up the rest of its private records to a world which has been denied the truth about Grunenthal and thalidomide for fifty years, including the records it recently handed over in the Australian thalidomide proceedings brought by Lynette Rowe.

The right way for Grunenthal to apologise is to acknowledge to the rest of the world what a German court told it thirty years ago; that its conduct fell well short of the reasonable standards of care expected of a pharmaceutical company at the time.

The right way for Grunenthal to seek forgiveness is to sit down with representatives of thalidomide survivor groups and start a genuine dialogue about reparations.

The nonsense spouted by Grunenthal today about how sorry it is and how it now wants to implement helpful projects ought to be seen in the context of its denial of responsibility in Lynette Rowe’s case; its refusal to play any constructive role in the recent settlement of her case and its refusal to acknowledge or deal responsibly with the carnage its drug has caused all over the world.

Grunenthal continues to claim it behaved responsibly 50 years ago. Has the Grunenthal CEO read any of his own company documents? What about the doctors and pharmacists who raised the alarm about birth defects with Grunenthal months and even years before Grunenthal withdrew the drug? What about Grunenthal's own internal admissions of poor behaviour made at the time and hushed up for 50 years?  

The children Grunenthal's drug maimed have grown up now.  They are men and women demanding to know the truth and demanding accountability.  The lawsuits recently commenced in Australia will be followed up in many other countries.  Grunenthal should be judged by how it responds to thalidomider’s rights and their claims...not by misleading and hypocritical nonsense.