The Australian government expresses regret for the thalidomide disaster while certain survivors observe from the Parliament’s viewing area.

On Wednesday, survivors of the drug thalidomide, which caused harmful morning sickness, were present in the public gallery as Australia’s Parliament issued a national apology to them. This occurred on the 62nd anniversary of the drug being removed from sale in the country.

Thalidomide, which was marketed as Contergan and Distaval, was distributed in 46 nations and resulted in birth abnormalities, stillbirths, and miscarriages.

Survivors who had limb deformities and one who had no limbs were present in the House of Representatives gallery to listen to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s apology.

“Today, the government and Parliament of Australia extends a sincere and belated apology to all thalidomide survivors, as well as their families, loved ones, and caregivers, on behalf of the nation.”

He stated that this apology addresses one of the most troubling periods in Australia’s medical past.

Physicians had reassured expectant mothers that the medication was not harmful.

According to Albanese, there was no established process for accurately assessing the safety of medications. The tragic reality of thalidomide is that even a single dose was capable of causing severe harm, despite its perceived safety.

Trish Jackson, who was born with heart and lung complications and limb abnormalities due to her mother’s use of the medication during pregnancy, appreciated the apology.

Jackson told Australian Broadcasting Corp that all the effort put into dealing with uncooperative politicians over the years has finally resulted in success.

In 2019, a Senate investigation suggested issuing an apology to elderly thalidomide survivors in response to the lack of support they received.

On Thursday, the government will comply with another recommendation by unveiling a memorial in Canberra to honor thalidomide survivors and their families.

In 2020, Australia implemented a program to provide lifelong support to 148 survivors. Recently, Albanese announced that his government will be re-opening the program to survivors who have not yet registered.

Jackson suggested streamlining the support program.

Jackson stated that obtaining reimbursements for medications and other items is extremely physically taxing, causing many survivors to give up on trying due to the difficulty.

According to her, there are doctors who are unfamiliar with thalidomide and are unable to comprehend the challenges faced by survivors.

Jackson stated that the effects of thalidomide go beyond just the physical loss of limbs, as it also causes significant internal damage and continues to present ongoing problems.

Ten years ago, a group of thalidomide survivors from Australia and New Zealand reached a settlement of 89 million Australian dollars ($81 million) in a class-action lawsuit against Diageo Scotland Ltd., the British distributor of the drug.