Who We Are – The Grünenthal Foundation for the Support of Thalidomide-affected People
The Grünenthal Foundation was established in 2012 and integrated the “Hardship Initiative” founded by Grünenthal in 2011. The purpose of the foundation is to improve the life situation of Thalidomide-affected people. We provide support worldwide, as long as the person making the request is recognised by the Contergan Foundation for Disabled People or a similar institution that uses comparable criteria.
Continual dialogue with affected people and their representatives is important to us in order to offer support where it is needed the most.
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The core of our work consists of providing aids that make life in your own home easier, promote contact with other people, or enable you to carry out your professional work activities.
Since 2007, Grünenthal has assumed increased responsibility for supporting people affected by the Thalidomide tragedy. What began as a dialogue with individual representatives of affected people led to an apology and ultimately to the establishment of the Hardship Initiative and the formation of the Grünenthal Foundation. One important step in addressing Thalidomide-affected people was a request for forgiveness by then Chairman of the Management Board Dr. Harald F. Stock. On August 31, 2012, he issued an apology to Thalidomide-affected people and their families. The Grünenthal Foundation for the Support of Thalidomide-affected People was founded in the same year. The purpose of the foundation is to improve the life situation of affected people.
A round table discussion with representatives from associations of affected people also played a significant role in helping to gradually establish a trusting relationship between the Grünenthal Foundation and affected people.
The Grünenthal Foundation primarily focuses on helping affected people to maintain mobility and autonomy in their living environment. The foundation provides support worldwide, as long as the person making the request is recognised by the Contergan Foundation for Disabled People or a similar institution that uses comparable criteria. More than 3,450 requests have been granted since the foundation was established.
The Grünenthal Foundation engages in ongoing dialogue with affected people in order to better understand their individual needs and learn what forms of support are required. Regular discussions with Thalidomide-affected people have repeatedly demonstrated the importance of this direct person-to-person interaction. The foundation will continue to stand by people affected by Thalidomide in the future, continually adapting its services to their changing needs.
We will do this by engaging in continual dialogue with Thalidomide-affected people and focusing our work on providing added value through our support services to improve quality of life for affected people.
The Thalidomide tragedy will always be a part of Grünenthal’s history. Grünenthal will never forget what happened and we deeply regret the wide-ranging consequences for the people affected and their families.
It has been over 60 years since Grünenthal launched the active substance Thalidomide on the market as a sedative. The introduction of this medication led to the start of the Thalidomide tragedy. Today, there are around 5,000 people worldwide who were born with significant birth defects. Over the years, Grünenthal has made over EUR 100 million available to affected people. Many of our licensing partners, in many cases working together with national governments, have also provided support for affected people.
Additional information about the tragedy can be found at www.thalidomide-tragedy.com.