Thalidomide victim’s call for compensation

Thalidomide campaigner Guy Tweedy. (S)
Thalidomide campaigner Guy Tweedy. (S)

A Thalidomide victim from Harrogate is taking on one of the world’s pharmaceutical giants in a campaign for compensation.

Guy Tweedy - one of just 469 Thalidomide survivors in the UK - is now calling on German manufacturers Grunenthal to compensate those who were affected.

Thalidomide, the so-called “wonder-drug”, was first given to pregnant women in 1957 to combat the effects of morning sickness. By 1962, it was withdrawn from the market after it was linked to crippling side effects in newborn babies including shortened limbs, brain damage and blindness.

“For the past 50 years, the survivors of Thalidomide and their families have to live with this damage it to unborn babies in the womb,” said Mr Tweedy, who has successfully led several Thalidomide campaigns.

“In all that time Grunenthal has never paid any compensation to the British, Canadian, Swedish and Australian Thalidomide victims.

“The goal is to get a meaningful compensation package. To get a proper apology for Thalidomide victims around the world.”

In 2008, Guy and fellow Thalidomide campaigner Nick Dobrik made 38 trips to Germany to help German Thalidomiders with their own compensation campaigns.

As a consequence, they will now receive 123 million Euros a year from the German government.

Mr Tweedy visited Grunenthal’s headquarters in Stolberg, near Archen, Germany, in 2007 and met with a representative of the pharmaceutical company.

He has now set up an online petition site called Show Your Hand, and is trying to get as many signatures as possible.

“We don’t want anybody’s money,” he said. “We want your support, to put pressure on Grunenthal to do the right thing.

“To help win this campaign we need as much public support as possible. All we are asking is that they go onto our new website,, and register their name.”