Target: Harald Stock, CEO of the Grünenthal Group
Goal: Compensate the surviving victims of the morning sickness drug, thalidomide.
Thalidomide, a medication used in the 1950s and 60s to treat morning sickness during pregnancy, was later found to cause missing or malformed limbs in babies born to the mothers who took it. Harald Stock and the Grünenthal Group recently apologized for manufacturing the drug and for failing to warn users of the threat of birth defects, but the thousands of victims still suffering from the effects of the drug deserve adequate compensation to assist in their medical costs.
The company was first warned of the possibility of birth defects from their drug in 1959 but continued to sell it. In 1961, after being sold for several years in over 40 countries, doctors started noticing an increase in the number of newborns with missing and deformed limbs, and a connection to the drug was finally confirmed. The company states that they did all the necessary tests before making the drug available to the public and that they allowed it to be released only after they believed it was safe.
Although Grünenthal contributes to funds that give a small amount of aid to victims in Germany and the UK, the fund isn’t enough to pay all of the victims’ healthcare costs, in addition to the costs of victims in other countries. There are still thousands of survivors living with the devastating effects of the drug. Because the victims are all older than 50, they are experiencing an increase in symptoms related to the disease, thereby increasing the amount of money needed for healthcare costs. It is the company’s duty to ensure that those who struggle with health problems resulting from the drug are able to get the healthcare and accommodations necessary to live comfortably.
As Grünenthal has recently admitted through their apology that they are at fault for the health problems caused by thalidomide, they should now be held responsible and contribute fairly to the victims’ financial burden. Although some have expressed appreciation for the apology after 50 years of silence, many victims are looking for a more tangible response to their suffering and we must urge this company to take responsibility for their mistake.
Dear Harald Stock,
The surviving victims of thalidomide have been dealing with their health problems and suffering financially because of those problems for over 50 years, and they deserve compensation in addition to the apology that was offered.
The funds dedicated to the victims in Germany and the UK are not enough to cover all of the costs of healthcare and accommodations necessary for them to live normal lives. They are living longer than expected and their symptoms are increasing, along with their financial woes. Additionally, there are victims in many other countries around the world who need financial help in dealing with the health problems inflicted on them by this drug.
I am urging you to give the victims of thalidomide the financial support they need and deserve, and to offer more than just an apology, as a way of acknowledging your responsibility for their suffering.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Identity Photogr@phy via Flickr.