July 18, 2012
A Melbourne woman born without arms and legs after her mother took the drug thalidomide during pregnancy has settled her court case against the drug’s distributor Diageo.
Lynette Rowe, 50, last year successfully fought attempts by the drug company Grunenthal to have the case moved to Germany.
Ms Rowe’s lawyer Peter Gordon today said he was “extremely pleased” to announce to the judge that her claim against Diageo had been resolved.
The case against Grunenthal remained ongoing but would not go to trial before August next year, the court heard.
As the court adjourned, supporters hugged Ms Rowe.
Mr Gordon told the court Ms Rowe and her legal advisers were satisfied that the settlement was “prudent and adequate” in the circumstances.
A smiling Ms Rowe left court without making comment but is expected to make a statement later today.
Ms Rowe’s mother Wendy took the drug during pregnancy.
The case alleged Grunenthal knew of links between thalidomide and adverse health effects.
It was alleged that between 1956 and 1961 the company had received reports of birth deformities in infants whose mothers had taken thalidomide but ignored, suppressed and denigrated people who complained.
After this morning’s court hearing, Ms Rowe’s lawyer Peter Gordon described the confidential settlement as a ‘‘great outcome’’ for Ms Rowe and her family.
‘‘The amount of the settlement will remain private but I can say it is a multi-million dollar amount and will be sufficient to provide a very good level of care for Lyn for the rest of her life,’’ Mr Gordon said.
Ms Rowe said she was pleased with the result that she said she hoped would bring about good things for other thalidomide victims.
‘‘It shows you don’t need arms and legs to change the world. Like I always say: see the person, not the disability.’’
Her father, Ian, told a packed press conference that he and his wife were very proud of their daughter.
‘‘Lyn was always prepared to go trial to get the right result and Wendy and I are incredibly proud of her determination and persistence,’’ he said.
‘‘Those pills that Wendy and thousands of other women took 50 years ago have caused so much heartache and suffering but at least something positive is now being done to put some things right.’’
The drug was withdrawn in Australia in November 1961.
AAP, with Andrea Petrie
Article source: www.smh.com.au