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Australia retracts nationally to survivors & their families for Thalidomide

Australia retracts nationally to survivors & their families for Thalidomide

Australia retracts nationally to survivors & their families for Thalidomide

Australia retracts nationally to survivors & their families for Thalidomide

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  • Anthony Albanese has issued a national apology to survivors of the thalidomide scandal.
  • Anthony Albanese acknowledged the government’s role in the tragedy.
  • The apology was directed at survivors and their families.
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Australia’s Prime Minister has issued a national apology to survivors of the thalidomide scandal and their families, more than 60 years after the drug caused birth defects globally.

Anthony Albanese acknowledged the government’s role in the tragedy, calling it “one of the darkest chapters in Australia’s medical history.”

The apology, the first of its kind, was directed at survivors and their families, addressing the pain inflicted by thalidomide. Over 140 survivors have registered for a financial support program since 2020 while the exact number of affected individuals in Australia is unknown.

Thalidomide, developed in the 1950s, was initially used as a sedative but later promoted as a morning sickness drug globally, leading to severe birth defects.

A 2019 report suggested that 20% of Australia’s thalidomide cases could have been avoided with earlier action. Survivor Trish Jackson expressed hope that the apology would bring peace, emphasizing that it should have been issued years ago.

Thalidomide survivors worldwide have long sought acknowledgement and compensation for the devastating effects of the drug.

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Canada introduced financial assistance in 1991, and the UK issued a national apology in 2010. Australia’s support for survivors began with a landmark Senate inquiry in 2019, providing a financial scheme with one-time payments and annual support.

The program briefly closed to new applicants, has now been reopened to ensure that those who missed the previous opportunity can apply.

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