Press release

Thalidomide victims awarded £80 million health grant

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Under a deal unveiled today by Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb, the Department of Health will pay around £80 million over 10 years to the Thalidomide Trust through an annual grant, which dispenses help and support to people disabled by the drug.

This deal secures additional financial support for England’s 325 surviving “thalidomiders”, many of whom are unable to work and require adapted homes and cars.

The grant recognises the increasing health needs of Thalidomide survivors as they approach older age and that more investment is needed to help meet the complex health needs that can arise.

The grant, piloted for the last three years, has previously been used to help thalidomiders to alter their houses or other areas of life to improve health and living standards.

Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb said:

“We wish to express our deep sympathy for the suffering and injury endured by all those affected by the drug Thalidomide.

“This deal represents our clear acknowledgment that thalidomiders should be supported and helped to live as independent lives as possible, and we hope that this grant will aid that cause and provide an element of long term financial security.”

Between 1958 and 1961, the drug Thalidomide was used by expectant mothers to control symptoms of morning sickness. The drug led to many babies being born with physical disabilities.

This funding affects Thalidomide survivors living in England only. Separately, the devolved administrations will consider how they will fund a grant for thalidomiders in their areas after the current three year pilot grant ceases at the end of March 2013.

The Thalidomide Trust will report back annually to the Department of Health about how the money is being distributed and controlled. The Department expects the report to also show how the grant is reducing loss of independence and preventing or delaying further damage to health, mobility, and well-being.