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Thalidomide Birth Defects Class Action Lawsuit Filed


Seattle, WA: New research suggests that thalidomide -- a drug that caused thousands of horrific cases of deformities in children -- caused far more deformities in the U.S. than were reported during the height of the pharmaceutical crisis of the early 1960s.

Invented by German drug company Grunenthal, thalidomide was widely used throughout Europe during the late 1950s and early 1960s, resulting in thousands of deaths and extreme, disfiguring birth defects when used by women during pregnancy. The drug was never approved in the United States, but the new lawsuit filed late October 2011 alleges that as many as 2.5 million doses of the drug were distributed by more than 1,200 doctors to more than 20,000 people, including pregnant women.

Newly discovered and translated documents reveal that Smith, Kline and French (SKF), now owned by GlaxoSmithKline conducted a trial of the drug in 1956 and 1957, but buried the evidence, resulting in a missed opportunity to save thousands of lives.

Instead, according to the filed lawsuit, brought on behalf of 13 men and women with severe birth defects, SKF concealed the results of its trial from the public, allowing another company, Richardson-Merrell, now owned by Sanofi-Aventis to move ahead with large-scale "clinical trials" that involved more than 20,000 people, including pregnant women.

The lawsuit also claims that conclusions made in the early 1960s about the types of birth defects caused by the drug were incorrect.

According to legal counsel, researchers concluded that thalidomide causes bilateral birth defects, such as two missing or shortened arms or hearing loss in both ears. As a result, babies born with unilateral defects, such as one deformed limb, or hearing loss in only one ear were not deemed thalidomide victims, even when their mothers were given the drug while pregnant.

However, new research involving thalidomide as part of a treatment regimen in cancer patients show that many of the assumptions used in the 1960s are incorrect. The lawsuit alleges that this new understanding of thalidomide means that many individuals who experienced unilateral defects may have been misdiagnosed when their doctors told them thalidomide could not have been the cause.

"Among other things we intend to show in court that thalidomide does not work through a neural mechanism as previously thought, but affects the vascular system," a lawyer for the plaintiffs said.

This is especially relevant for one of the plaintiffs named in the complaint, Philip "Hook" Yeatts, a professional race car driver who competes in the U.S. Legends Series. Yeatts was born without his right arm or right leg, a severely curved spine and a deformed tongue. He overcame his disability, competing in a modified car and rising through the ranks to become a professional driver.

Yeatts' mother suffered from morning sickness during pregnancy and was given thalidomide by her doctor, according to the complaint.

Yeatts would never have been considered a victim of thalidomide because the predominant medical view held that thalidomide could not cause unilateral injuries like his.

The complaint claims that the defendants are either guilty of or liable for a civil conspiracy, failing to report and covering up evidence that thalidomide was harmful, especially when taken during the early stages of pregnancy. The lawsuit also says that the defendants were negligent in continuing to manufacture, test and distribute the drug.

Thalidomide Class Action Legal Help

If you or a loved one has suffered injury or birth defects in this case, please click the link below and your complaint will be sent to a lawyer who may evaluate your claim at no cost or obligation.
Published on Oct-31-11

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READER COMMENTS

Posted by
Teresa Obermayer
on
@steve lucier, as I read your comment dated April 3 of this year. To start, that’s my birthday but the year is 1962... so I noticed that right away...I felt as thou you were writing about me...I’ve been diagnosed with a lot of crap but never stiff person disease but it sounds about right. My mother as well took thalidomide while she was pregnant with me, early on in her pregnancy (fall of 1961) not to get into details but over my 56 years I gradually learned that I have one kidney one Fallopian tube and ovarie, all are on one side, missing 7 discs in my back like every third is fused together...I have had colitis since I was 17. Fibromyalgia for over ten years. I live with pain all the time, sleep seems to help... cannot be in the heat for to long I get over heated really quick. But I live in Florida so I am in tha A/C... everyday a new pain and then it will disappear and then pop up somewhere else
I have no insurance, I don’t take any pain pills, I don’t see a physician... I have just learned to live with all the pain..

Posted by
Steve Lucier
on
Just to add insult to injury in 2017 I read an article dated 2014 that 13 more Canadian Thalidomider's won judgements for new claims inside the same PA courts against the same thalidomide producer we were after. It is still illegal to be a USA Thalidomider. The so called greatest country on earth right now continues to turn a blind eye on Thalidomider's while recompensing asbestos, smoking and several other class action "Statute of limitations" breakers. I've had pains and discomforts all my life and they got much worse in 2003. Doctors thought I had ALS but now say Stiff Person Disease. With all my experiences from toddler up and from experts I have talked to I have no doubt it is thalidomide nerve damages increasing. The doctors only say SPD because they don't know what to call it and want to help me have an answer for health forms. I can't go out in humidity or in warm to hot air. Stuck inside all the time. Haven't even been out on a trip or to eat in two years. Stuck in a tiny room with the air conditioner running keeping the humidity down and temp below 68° at all times. Can't afford to cool and dehumidify the whole house. Life after thalidomide- it just keeps getting worse and worse.

Posted by
gina rogers
on
my mother was given the drug for morning sickness. I was born with no bones in both of my ears. I have 75 percent hearing loss.

Posted by
Susan Cohen
on
My mother took thalidomide when she was pregnant with me in 1956, and everyone rejoiced at my birth when it seemed I had no birth defects. Now, at 61, my musculo-skeletal system looks like someone’s in their 80’s, and following years of arthroscopic surgeries and almost continual physical therapy to control pain and maintain movement, I find myself in need of 2 hip replacements for undiagnosed hip dysplasia that I was born with, and 2 knee replacements. My first replacement will be next month. As this is apparently unusual in someone my age, my research has shown that this is a common condition for thalidomide survivors who are all around my age at this point. I learned my mother took thalidomide for her morning sickness when my obstetrician put me on another morning sickness drug, Bendectin, while pregnant with my first daughter. She was afraid for me to take anything, but my doctor assured us it was safe. Same thing her doctor told her when he prescribed thalidomide. Bendectin was later shown to cause defects, such as cleft palate, and was taken off the market. My daughter was born in 1980 with extra sinus cavities in her ear, and an extremely high palate, requiring speech therapy and multiple trips to doctors before seeing an ENT who had never seen this problem before, but finally diagnosed it, as with every cold, her ears would develop a red and painful knot, right at a small pockmark type hole, after which pus would stream out. Very distressing... the question is, have there been suits brought by older thalidomide survivors who are only now learning they have defects from this drug, and have there been any suits against the makers of Bendectin?

Posted by
Anthony John Letourneau
on
My mom was given Thalidomide in 1971 while pregnant with me. I got off lucky with minor defects compared to others.

Posted by
Steve Lucier
on
Watching people who chose to smoke for more years than we have been alive be afforded the right to file a claim for damages and in the states that allowed it those claiments received recompense/cash for damages from smoking even though nearly every one of them made an educated decision to risk smoking. This so called violation of the "Statute of Limitations" was conducted with the power of a political party in Washington DC to gain votes for the upcoming election. I said from the start I don't see Thalidomiders in mass winning without the press and Devil's Consortium of Washington getting behind them. Odd it was never brought out in court the two cases in Chicago from 1996 that easily won beyond the "Statute of Limitations". Also odd the American companies must pay the Canadian victims. So much for the greatest country. I'm going back in time and spilling a hot cup of coffee from McD's on myself.

Posted by
Denise Olson
on
The worst part of this other than Judge Diamond saying our
Mothers should have sued on behalf of us, yeah right! Guess what? My Mother to this day has lied my entire life about my defects. How did I find out? The Shriners Hospital!
I find this offensive to all of us that have suffered at the hands of past medical doctors that caused this. Our parents
trusted them, they injured us! Being a child being teased is one thing, but as an adult, and NO ONE WANTS TO BE HONEST AND DO THE RIGHT THING?? Take care of us before throwing more aide to others!!!!

Posted by
Jack Merica
on
Federal Judge Paul Diamond threw out the last thalidomide case out of the original ~30 cases sever all months ago. He found them all to be time barred. Our parents should have filed suit while we were babies. Like Spain, there is no justice in the United States for Thalidomide Survivors. Big Pharma got a walk and the plaintiff's counsel was sanctioned.

Posted by
margaret d pruski
on
I was born in Chicago Il on july 16th 1960 my mother took Thlidamide for morning sickness Unfortunatly I was born witj a large tab on my right ear which was partialy removed with surgery when I was a infant I am completely deaf in that ear Also I was born with no jaw bone on the right side 2 sets of teeth they removed one set and I had braces over 7 years I was made fun of throughout my entire life which led to low self esteem and I deserve something

Posted by
Maria Ruiz
on
First email was on August 8, 2015 I was born with one hand. My mother as given Thalidomide. Please send any information on any lawsuit pertaining to the US. Thank you

Posted by
Maria Ruiz
on
I was born with one hand. My mother as given Thalidomide. Please send any information on any lawsuit pertaining to the US. Thank you

Posted by
Minnesota
on
Our daughter was born with her right arm missing just below her elbow. Our family doctor had given me thalidomide, which he said was a new medicine to prevent miscarriage. It was very hard to accept and was such a shock. She was a beautiful baby, which may have made it even harder. She went through a lot through the years, such as teasing on the bus and in school. She was a very determined girl, which has helped her with life.












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