Over 10,000 babies were born with serious, preventable birth defects due to a commercially produced and marketed drug in Europe, Canada, and Australia. That drug was thalidomide, a drug originally approved for use in treating insomnia that quickly became the treatment of choice for morning sickness in pregnant women. Following their doctors’ advice, who were following the recommendations of pharmaceutical manufacturers, who had received government approval to distribute thalidomide, thousands of pregnant women took this drug to relieve their discomfort during the early stages of their pregnancy. Thalidomide class action suits have justice on their side as they seek restitution for children exposed to the drug in the womb.
The side effects of thalidomide were not extensively studied before it was recommended for use by pregnant women. Because of this oversight, women who followed their doctors’ advice gave birth to a generation of babies born with severe birth defects. While thalidomide is currently used to treat a variety of disease processes, all the current therapies recognize the teratogenic properties of thalidomide. What makes thalidomide effective in cutting off the blood supply to cancerous tumors, also inhibits the growth of new tissues in a developing fetus.
Every country where thalidomide was in extensive use in the late 1950s and early 1960s has a history of thalidomide class action lawsuit action. The victims of thalidomide, nearly all of whom were born with severe physical disabilities due to exposure in the womb, band together to seek restitution for their preventible condition. Had adequate scientific research been done on the range of potential effects of the drug, they could have been born without disabilities. Research by the manufacturers and responsible regulation by governments could have prevented babies being born without arms, and other birth defects.
While there are examples of thalidomide children who grew up to have successful and rewarding lives as adults, the testimony is obvious that thalidomide victims suffer under the burden of their disabilities. Many countries’ legal systems have ruled in favor of thalidomide class action suits, including the U.K., Canada, and Australia.