Victorian forced to fight thalidomide class action in Germany

A MELBOURNE woman who was born without arms and legs could be forced to fly to Germany to sue an international pharmaceutical company over the drug thalidomide.

Fifty years ago, Lynette Rowe's mother Wendy took thalidomide, a drug to counter morning sickness, while she was pregnant.

Ms Rowe, who has lived her life in Australia and does not have a passport, is heading a class action by Victorians who developed deformities after their pregnant mothers took the drug.

But manufacturer Grunenthal will ask the Victorian Supreme Court to move the class action to Germany - the country where the company and many of its witnesses are located.

The class action alleges Grunenthal knew of links between thalidomide and adverse health effects.

It is alleged that from 1956–1961 the company had received reports of birth deformities in infants whose mothers had taken thalidomide but ignored, suppressed and denigrated people who