Germany: Thalidomide

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 2nd August 2016.

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Photo of Scott Mann Scott Mann Conservative, North Cornwall

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what progress has been made in his talks with the German government on compensation for British citizens affected by Thalidomide.

Photo of Alan Duncan Alan Duncan Minister of State

The UK Government has not been involved in talks with the German Government on compensation for British survivors of Thalidomide. We have been assisting the Thalidomide Trust in making their own representations directly to the German Government.

At the request of representatives of the Thalidomide Trust the then Minister for Europe (Rt Hon David Lidington MP) wrote on 4 February to the German Ambassador to London, setting out the Trust’s desire for further discussions with the German Government and requesting his support in raising the matter within Germany. The Ambassador passed this request to the German Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth. The FCO received a response from the Families Ministry on 1 June. In this response the German Government sets out that UK survivors of Thalidomide are able to apply for compensation from the Contergan Foundation For Disabled People.

The Contergan Foundation was established by the German Government to help disabled people whose deformities can be linked to their mothers taking medicinal products during pregnancy which contained thalidomide. While funded in part by the German Government, the Contergan Foundation is independent of the German Government who do not control or influence the awards made. As such the Families Ministry declined to meet the Thalidomide Trust for further discussions and reiterated their belief that British survivors should contact the Contergan Foundation.

The UK Government remains in contact with the Thalidomide Trust to discuss all aspects of this case.

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