Thalidomide was the active ingredient in a sleep-inducing and sedative drug that was distributed for sale in Australia between 1 August 1960 and 29 November 1961. Marketed as a safe drug, it was provided to pregnant women to ease the symptoms of morning sickness. As these unsuspecting pregnant women later discovered, taking even one tablet had the capacity to cause malformation of limbs, facial features and internal organs in their unborn children.
The Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee's (committee) interim report focused on the effect that thalidomide has had on the lives of survivors and their families and the support that has been provided to date. The committee noted that thalidomide has affected every part of their life, including their ability to work, to dress and toilet themselves and to provide physical affection to their loved ones.
This final report considers the role of the manufacturer, the distributor and Australian governments in providing support to Australia's thalidomide survivors. It also considers some of difficulties thalidomide survivors have experienced with the NDIS and how the requests made by the Thalidomide Group Australia, together with better coordination of services, could assist Australia's thalidomide survivors. The report contains the committee's final recommendations and conclusions regarding additional supports for thalidomide survivors.