Vic woman, UK firm settle thalidomide case

'Worst child poisoning case since thalidomide'A multimillion dollar compensation payment to a Melbourne woman whose mother took the drug thalidomide during pregnancy will provide her with care for the rest of her life, her lawyers say.

UK company Diageo, which distributed thalidomide, has settled with Lynette Rowe, who was born without arms and legs.

There was no settlement with the drug’s manufacturer Grunenthal.

Ms Rowe remains the lead plaintiff in a class action against Grunenthal as negotiations with more than 100 other thalidomide victims in Australia and New Zealand continue.

Ms Rowe, 50, wept as her father Ian spoke on her behalf.

The things she has achieved are absolutely amazing” he told reporters on Wednesday.

You don’t need arms and legs to change the world.

Ms Rowe’s lawyer Peter Gordon said the settlement was “more than adequate” to compensate Ms Rowe in the future.

She had struck a blow for “thalidomiders” all over the world, he said.

We are really proud of Lynette, we are really proud of her parents Wendy and Ian” he said.

Mr Gordon described thalidomide as “the greatest pharmaceutical disaster in history“.

Thalidomide drugs were distributed in Australia and New Zealand around 1960 and 1961 by Distillers, which became part of Diageo in 1997.

Mr Gordon said executives at Diageo were “good and responsible corporate citizens“, but that Grunenthal had taken a position they deplored.

The drug was withdrawn in Australia in 1961.

(Source: News, 18 July 2012)

About Rushmore Forensic

Andrew Firth is a forensic accountant who has conducted numerous investigations and other forensic accounting engagements in both Australia and overseas. He specialises in economic loss and loss of earnings calculations, personal injury compensation and other forensic accounting services for commercial disputes.  He is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and has appeared as an Expert Witness in numerous jurisdictions.

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