Today the Federal government issued an apology to both thalidomide survivors and their families for the oversight that led to the wave of birth defects in the late 1950s and early 1960s. These birth defects included absence of limbs, malformed internal organs and spinal issues. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Opposition Leader Peter Dutton both addressed Parliament today, apologizing for the circumstances that led to the sale of thalidomide in Australia. Both men read testimonials from survivors of thalidomide and their families as part of their apology.

The thalidomide crisis led to the formation of the Australian Drug Evaluation Committee, now the Therapeutic Goods Administration. Prior to these, Australia had no major body controlling the standards of pharmaceuticals sold in the country. As of now, there are approximately 150 Australians alive today that are affected by thalidomide out of approximately 3000 total survivors worldwide.

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Produced By: Steven Samaras

Featured In Story: Dr Luke Gresskoviak Fellow in Medicines Use and Safety – Flinders University

First aired on The Wire, Wednesday 29 November 2023