Thalidomide-affected in Spain

Three additional companies, namely Laboratorio Farmacológicos Nessa, Peyva Laboratorios and the Instituto Farmacológico Latino, have, independently of Grünenthal, sold thalidomide- containing drugs in Spain; Grünenthal was the last company entering the Spanish market in 1960.

Grünenthal stopped sales of thalidomide-containing products on November 27, 1961 worldwide; twelve days after information received from the German physician Dr. Widukind Lenz first indicated that taking thalidomide-containing products might be causally associated with an increase in birth defects. In May 1962 also the Spanish Government followed by ordering the official withdrawal of thalidomide-containing products in Spain.

Affected people in Spain that were harmed by a thalidomide-containing drug marketed by Grünenthal can apply for financial support from the German Contergan Foundation. The financial support of the Contergan Foundation is on average 58,000 Euros annually with a highest rate of around 7,900 Euros monthly.

If those affected in Spain were harmed by a drug that was sold independently of Grünenthal, then they can receive support from the Spanish government that was specifically provided for them. A total of 249 applications were made, of which 24 were approved, on the basis that these 24 applicants may have been harmed by thalidomide. Depending on the severity of the individual case, up to 100,000 Euros were paid to those affected.

In September 2015, a claim for damages against Grünenthal was finally rejected by the Supreme Court in Madrid. The Spanish Constitutional Court in Madrid has rejected an appeal by the Spanish thalidomide campaigning group called “organization for people harmed by thalidomide or other disadvantaged people (AVITE)”. Grünenthal does not understand why AVITE initiated these lawsuits in the first place, as  any person in Spain affected by a thalidomide product from Grünenthal has the right to comprehensive financial support through the German Contergan Foundation. Some people affected in Spain have already received such support since the early 1970s.