Thalidomide Group Australia

  Looking for Justice 




What some governments have done for their survivors...

UK National Government

1973:    The Thalidomide Trust was set up to

            administer payments made by Distillers, who

            had distributed the Thalidomide drug in the


1973:   Distillers (now Diageo), agreed to pay £20 million

          sterling in compensation. 


1974:   The British government donated £5 million

           sterling to the Thalidomide Trust, which was an

           offset of tax on the original £20 million paid in

           by Distillers.     


1996:   The British government, without offering any

           particular reason, donated a further £7 million. 

2004:  The UK government introduced new legislation

           (Statutory Instrument 2004 1819) so that the

           Annual Grants received by beneficiaries were

           treated as damages for personal injury and

           were therefore exempt from Tax.         


2005:  Distillers agreed a complex new multi-year

           financial settlement estimated to cost in the

           order of £153 million as additional

           compensation for Thalidomide survivors.      

          The additional funding provided for covenant

          payments to be increased and for the

          payments to be extended from 2022 to 2037.  

          This was calculated on the basis of the money

          required to double beneficiary annual

          payments from 2004 levels by 2022.  


2010/Jan 14:   British Health Minister, Mike O’Brien,

       confirmed a new £20 million support package,

       which had been announced during the month of

       December ’09.   

       This was for three years funding (initially on a

       pilot basis) to meet the increased health needs of


       The £20 million will be administered through the

       Thalidomide Trust.   

       If the £20 million was to be divided equally across

       all surviving Thalidomide survivors in the UK,

       each survivor would receive in the order of

       £43,000 sterling (dependent on their level of

       Thalidomide damage).


2010:  United Kingdom Health Minister (Mike O’Brien)

        makes a formal apology to their Thalidomide

        Victims, expressing “sincere regret and deep

        sympathy” on behalf of the government.  


2012/Dec 20:   Brittish government paid £80-million

       sterling into the Thalidomide Trust.


2017:  The UK government introduces a "benefits

         disregard" so that the funding received by the

         UK Thalidomide survivors from the Thalidomide

         Trust is disregarded when they are assessed for

         eligibility to receive state-funded benefits.   

Canadian Government          

1980:   Thalidomide victims settled with

           William S Merrell (Canadian distributors). 


1991:  Federal Government gave survivors of

         Thalidomide a one-time payout of $8.5 million.

         (between $52,000  - $82,000 a person depending

         on level of disability) 


2015/Early:   Federal Government offered a second

         lump-sum payment of $125,000 to survivors. 

         The Government also promised $168-million

          availability as annual compensation,  

          (although did not explain how survivors would

          access that fund).


2015/May:  Details provided on the $168-million

         included victims of Thalidomide receiving

         annual payments of up to $100,000, depending

         on level of disability.


2015:   Federal Government to create an annual

        Extraordinary Medical Assistance Fund of

        $5000,000 to assist survivors with medical, living,

        and transport expenses.


2015:   Health Canada to allocate an administrator to

        manage the EMA Fund and compensation

        re-assessments levels.

National Government of Ireland

1970:   the German government set up a compensation

      scheme from which Irish Thalidomiders received

      financial support.

      In detail Thalidomiders received the following;

           1) A lump sum ranging between DM7,500

           (IR£1,250 approximately) and DM25,000 (IR£4,200

           approx), and  

          2) A monthly allowance for life ranging between

           DM100 (IR£17 approx) and DM450 (IR£75 approx). 


1973:   The Irish government as a matter of principal

    decided to significantly increase the German

    compensation scheme.

    In addition to the German scheme the

    Irish government provided the following;   

          1)  A lump sum ranging between IR£6,600 and

              IR£21,300, and

          2)  A monthly allowance for life ranging between

               IR£31.75 and IR£95.00.


The allowances, German and Irish, are tax-free, are not reckonable for State benefits and each of the Thalidomide survivors are the holders of medical cards. In addition, a Thalidomide survivor can also claim disability allowance of approximately €849 per month or €10,192 per annum (2010 figures).


If disability allowance is added (€849 per month – 2010 figures) the total tax-free sum claimable by a Thalidomide survivor is €1,773 (least severe) or €3,381 (most severe) monthly i.e. €21,280 or €40,568 annually (2010 figures).


Updated figures are still being researched by this website.


German Federal Government

Grünenthal, the German manufacturer of the drug, set up a €50m (£41m) fund for 3,000 thalidomide victims on the Continent, mostly in Germany, and unveiled a memorial last September when, for the first time, it expressed its “sincere regrets” and “deep sympathy” for those affected. But it has never compensated the British victims.  

2012:    The inventor of Thalidomide (the Grünenthal Group) releases a statement saying it regrets the consequences of the drug.

       “We ask that you regard our long silence

       as a sign of the silent shock that your

       fate has caused us!”  

       Company Chief Executive, Harold Stock  

On average, German survivors of Thalidomide receive the equivalent of £10,000 sterling a year from a foundation funded by Chemie Grünenthal and the government.

Updated figures are still being researched by this website.

Federal Government of Australia


 Mid to late 1960’s:   The Australian Government made

         available the facilities of Veterans Affairs to

         provide the fitting of artificial limbs for those

         children missing either upper or lower limbs. 

1974:   The Australian government made a one-off

        payment of $150,000 to off-set the taxes earned

        by the Thalidomide Foundation.

Following any settlements in 1974 (Distillers), 2010 (Diageo), and 2014 (Diageo), the Federal Government passed legislation ensuring that the lump sum and ex-gratia payments were not considered income and therefore not liable for payment of income tax.