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To: Grunenthal and Sanofi

Drug Justice - pharmaceutical companies should pay for their mistakes

Drug Justice - pharmaceutical companies should pay for their mistakes


We are campaigning to have Grunenthal and Sanofi face their obligations and to stop hiding behind the protection of European legislation, face their responsibility and their guilt, and pay adequate compensation to the thousands of victims affected by their drugs.

The drug thalidomide – marketed for pregnant women suffering with morning sickness - was invented and sold by a German pharmaceutical company called Grunenthal between 1957 and 1961. Thalidomide killed most babies in the womb and those who survived are severely injured and disabled. The drug Epilim (Sodium Valproate) was marketed in 1973 as a drug for Epilepsy and to date has affected approx. 20,000 babies in a similar disastrous way.

Grunenthal has never compensated any British thalidomider. We ask that Grunenthal face their responsibility and give financial compensation to thalidomide damaged people in the UK. Grunenthal’s CEO must sit down with the thalidomide representatives and discuss financial compensation not just for the suffering and pain of living with thalidomide but also for the ongoing extra costs of living with the pain caused by thalidomide


Why is this important?

We are campaigning to make these two pharmaceutical companies compensate the people where their drugs have caused injury and disability. Currently, ordinary British people pick up the whole bill by paying out of taxpayers money for the mistakes made by foreign pharmaceutical companies instead of them paying out of their own profits. Neither of these two pharmaceutical companies have compensated any of the people they have injured.

The next medical disaster for the unborn baby, which is still being suppressed, is Sodium Valproate.

The drug Epilim (Sodium valproate) - marketed for people with epilepsy and also used for depression, migraine, and pain relief among many other complaints - is sold by a French pharmaceutical company called Sanofi. No warnings were given to pregnant women between 1973 and 2004 that this drug is dangerous to the unborn baby. It is still being prescribed today to pregnant women without warning.

What will we do with the petition you are signing?

With thousands of signatures on the petition we will:
Ask you to write to your MP requesting the UK government intervenes with the German government, as it is the German government which is protecting Grunenthal.
Invite you to attend a demonstration outside the German embassy at a specific event – date to be announced.
Your signatures will encourage MEPs here in the UK and across Europe to become involved.

Why across Europe?

95% of the people affected by thalidomide are in Europe. This is a European problem. What is the point of the EU if it doesn’t assist when European drugs affect everyone?

This will be the first time ever in history to get a European solution with all relevant national governments involved. The EU with the back up of all the national governments can find a solution to these disasters.

Thalidomide is the name every politician knows. We can do this – we can succeed because we are the brand name.
Epilim is the current identical story as thalidomide and is still being prescribed to pregnant women.

Thalidomide is believed to have been invented by the Nazis during the Second World War. The drug resurfaced in the fifties and by 1958 was being marketed as a 'wonder drug'. Over the next four years it was responsible for over 20,000 deaths, tens of thousands of miscarriages in pregnant women and 6,000 babies born with gross disfigurements, the likes of which the world had never seen. To this day, it is the biggest medical disaster in history. 467 of those babies are still alive in Britain today. Up until now, 50 years on, Grunenthal has refused to compensate its victims.

Epilim received its licence in 1973 and although the drug company Sanofi were aware of its teratogenic affects in pregnancy, the information was never given to the women taking it. Epilim (Sodium Valproate), as with Thalidomide, was named as the ‘Wonder Drug’ for Epilepsy and between 1985 - 1995 was the ‘drug of choice’, however it is now prescribed for a range of conditions, raising the amount of women taking it during pregnancy. By 1995 there were numerous medical papers discussing the affects of the drug on the fetus and was given the name of Fetal Valproate Syndrome, but still the information from the drug company was ambiguous. By January 2013 a medical paper was released explaining that Epilim was responsible for the affected children also having the diagnosis of Neurodevelopmental disorders and Autism. Numerous other papers around this time stated that approx. 48,000 babies had been exposed to Valproate and that 20,000 had been affected by it. For 40 years the burden of care has fallen upon the taxpayer and despite their statement of Corporate Responsibility, Sanofi still refuse to accept their accountability for the devastating effects of their drug.
My name is Billy Burton. I am a 50 year old victim of the drug thalidomide. I have short arms, clubbed hands with only four fingers on each hand. I also have problems with my ears, nose and throat, respiratory problems, neurological problems which affect my nerve endings, and musculo-skeletal problems, which affect my neck, shoulders, arms, hands, spine, hips, knees, and feet. I am already losing the dexterity I have and in the next 5 to 10 years I will lose the ability to shower, dress, go to the toilet on my own, and feed myself. The reality of losing my independence is frightening and now, as it has started to happen, I have to prepare for the future. I already need to make alterations to my house and must find the financial means to fund carers and medical needs.

Grunenthal are worth an estimated 11 billion euros. I would like them to compensate all thalidomide affected people financially, in order that we can live our twilight years in a degree of security and in the comfort that I think we deserve.

We don't want your money, just your support. Please put your hand on our wall at

Reasons for signing

  • Please sign and share. This is a worldwide problem? There will be others that come to public knowledge in years to come, - any drug that changes the Neuro Messengers is liable to DNA malevolence.
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  • Actions should have consequences - if they had been positive they would have happily enjoyed the profits, they must be equally responsive to negative consequences by offering compensation to those who have been affected


2013-06-21 22:33:32 +0100

1000 signatures reached

2013-06-17 20:38:54 +0100

500 signatures reached