Aachen - One of the biggest drug scandals in post-war history began with Contergan. 60 years later, victims are plagued by new concerns. The question is whether vessels were also damaged by the active substance. "There was one case in which cardiac catheter was supposed to be placed where the doctors couldn't get to the heart because the bloodstream was different," explained the chairman of the, Georg Löwenhauser.
In another Contergan- Victims had two anomalies in the vessels: Blood vessels were therefore in place where the surgeon would never suspect. "That could have been dangerous," says the association chairman. In its study on the situation of thalidomide victims in 2012, the Heidelberg University also assumed damage to vessels.
1, 4 million euros for study
But this has not yet been proven. According to its own information, the Contergan Foundation is currently preparing comparative study with committee of experts. "In order to get scientific results, we need at least between 450 and 500 people affected," said Margit Hudelmaier from the foundation's board of directors. At the same time, group without thalidomide damage must be examined.
Whether this happens depends on the decision of the Board of Trustees on October 16. Not least because of its composition, the Board of Trustees has always been fraught with conflict in the past: two representatives of those affected vote alongside three representatives of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs. While the study alone is estimated to cost an estimated 1.4 million, it is about lot more. Depending on the outcome, there could be demands for higher compensation payments. Löwenhauser emphasized that it was first and foremost about the people affected. It was important that the risk cases really knew what was going on with them and that this could be noted in an emergency ID card.
Still anger < / h2>
Regardless of new medical questions, according to the foundation, there is still anger even 60 years after the market launch of the birth control thalidomide, which causes malformations in embryos. "There are very many thalidomide victims who shut down completely when they hear the word Grünenthal, who see nothing from Grünenthal and do not want to hear anything until there is an apology," said Löwenhauser. "So far there is no excuse for the suffering that has done us." The Aachen pharmaceutical company only apologized in 2012 for not approaching the victims earlier. International victims' associations had described this as worthless and even insulting.
Deutsches Ärzteblatt print
A current statement from Grünenthal says: “On the occasion of the 60thOn the anniversary of the launch of thalidomide in Germany, we express our sincere regrets for the thalidomide tragedy and the consequences for the people affected and their families. ”The company has expressed this many times in the past. “We also wish the tragedy had never happened.”
There are also people like Löwenhauser who don't care much about an apology - especially since the parents of many of those affected have already died. “We will never be able to change the past. It would be more important to me that we shape the future, ”says the chairman of the nation's largest association of victims. When it comes to the emotionally charged topic of excuse, those affected do not agree. The umbrella organization therefore does not take any money from the Grünenthal Foundation for those affected.
With the market launch of the sleeping pill Contergan with the active ingredient thalidomide by Grünenthal on October 1, 1957, the biggest drug scandal in post-war Germany began . At the end of the 1950s, there was an initially inexplicable increase in malformations in newborns. It was not until November 1961 that Grünenthal's product was taken off the market. According to the Federal Association of Thalidomide Victims, around 5,000 children who were born in Germany alone with severe deformities, especially of the arms and legs, are still alive today.