“The thalidomide tragedy is a dark chapter in the history of our country and the world,” Albanese said Monday. “The survivors, their families, friends and caregivers have fought for this apology with courage and conviction for many years. This moment is a long overdue national recognition for all they endured and fought for.” According to official information, Albanese will read the apology in parliament on November 29th. 146 thalidomide survivors are registered with the government; the exact number of those affected is not known.
“With this apology, we will honor all the babies who have died, the families who mourn them, and those who survived but whose lives have been made so much harder by the effects of this terrible drug,” Albanese said.
Thalidomide is the active ingredient in the sleeping pill and sedative Contergan, which was developed by the German company Grünenthal. It caused severe birth defects in thousands of newborns in the late 1950s and early 1960s after pregnant women took it for morning sickness. An estimated 80,000 children died before birth and another 20,000 were born with deformities. At the beginning of the 1960s, Grünenthal had to withdraw the drug from the market.
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