Thalidomide victims receive landmark payment

More than 100 Australian and New Zealand victims, many of whom were born with missing or shortened limbs, will be compensated under the landmark settlement, announced to the Victorian Supreme Court on Monday.

The $89 million will be paid by the drug's distributor Diageo, with thalidomide's manufacturer Grunenthal not included in the settlement.

A class action against Grunenthal will no longer proceed.

Lawyers for the victims say Grunenthal's conduct has been appalling.

"Every single Australian thalidomider was injured by a drug made by Grunenthal in Germany," lawyer Michael Magazanik said.

"Despite that, Grunenthal still will not pay a cent to its Australian and New Zealand victims.

"Fifty years on, Grunenthal will still not `fess up to its shameful behaviour in relation to that drug."

Lawyer Peter Gordon said the amount reached in the settlement was adequate without Grunenthal being included.

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