Posted: August 10th, 2018
Following the initiation of several thalidomide compensation claims, an official hearing has been adjourned at the High Court until November to allow for additional case management.
German drug manufacturer Grünenthal GmbHT,introduced Thalidomide as a sedative in Germany in 1957. They are now are facing 26 compensation cases taken against them, their Irish distributors TP Whelehan Son & Co, and the Ministers for Health and Environment. All parties deny the claims that have been made against them.
Allegations have been made stating that the drug inflicted deformities on unborn children when it was administered to pregnant mothers. The claims have been made in relation to incidents that took place in the 1960s. Due to this the High Court is currently reviewing whether the cases are statute-barred.
At the High Court the cases were brought before Mr Justice Seamus Noonan, who has stated that he is unhappy with “the slow pace” of the proceedings. Judge Noonan issued rulings to deal with a number of requests made by the defendants regarding certain aspects of their compensation claims.
The defendants claim that they need additional information from the plaintiffs in order to fully deal with the claims that are being taken against them. The judge concurred with this assertion and said that the details should be provided before the case is back before the court for further case management on 7 November. Judge Noonan added that the plaintiffs had a right to ask for discover documents from the State as part of their compensation action.
In a previous statement read out to the High Court, a representative for Grünenthal said the firm iss “deeply sorry for what happened to those affected by the thalidomide tragedy. It’s important for us that we engage in efforts to improve the situations of those who are still living with the impact of these latter effects. We set up the Grünenthal Foundation to provide benefits in kind and financing for individual projects for those affected. Since its establishment, the Grünenthal Foundation has also approved more than 1,000 applications for individualised support in Germany and internationally.”