|Until the mid-1950s||There are no regulations in the Federal Republic of Germany governing the development, production or sale of medicines. There is no German Drug Law/Medicines Act and no Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) or similar agency.|
|1954||Grünenthal obtains a patent for thalidomide, the active drug substance in the product called Contergan in Germany.|
|1 October 1957||Thalidomide is launched on the West German market and sold under the brand name Contergan.|
Until withdrawn, thalidomide is sold in a total of 46 countries under various brand names.
|October 1959||First reports suggesting thalidomide might cause nerve damage in the hands and feet (polyneuropathy).|
|1961||Grünenthal amends the package leaflet disclosing the side effect and applies for prescription-only status for thalidomide in May 1961 on account of the polyneuropathy.|
|16 November 1961||A Hamburg-based paediatrician, Dr. Widukind Lenz, voices the first suspicion that deformities in unborn children may be associated with thalidomide.|
An Australian gynaecologist, Dr. William G. McBride, expresses the same suspicion at approximately the same time.
|27 November 1961||Grünenthal withdraws thalidomide from the West German market.|
|1962||Scientists succeed for the first time in demonstrating teratogenicity of the active drug substance thalidomide in animal experiments in white New Zealand rabbits.|
|1964||An Israeli physician, Jacob Sheskin, discovers thalidomide's effectiveness in treating leprosy.|
|27 May 1968||Legal proceedings are instigated against nine Grünenthal executives and research employees in Alsdorf near Aachen.|
|April 1970||While criminal proceedings are still ongoing, Grünenthal begins negotiations with the joint plaintiffs and voluntarily pledges to pay DM 100 million to thalidomide victims.|
|18 December 1970||The case is discontinued against the defendants.|
|1972||The West German government enacts a law setting up a public foundation called Disabled Children's Relief Foundation.|
The government paid DM 100 million into the Foundation and Grünenthal contributed DM 114 million. Grünenthal is held harmless and indemnified against any other claims
|Prior to the mid-1980s||A number of legal challenges are brought unsuccessfully challenging the Foundation as the sole means of obtaining compensation.|
|1990s||Scientists discover that thalidomide has anti-inflammatory effects on the immune system and inhibits the formation of new blood vessels. The drug is used to treat severe illnesses including AIDS and cancer.|
|1998 - present||Other companies distribute thalidomide, ensuring the availability of other sources to meet the medical need.|
|June 2003||Grünenthal stops supplying thalidomide. At the request of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Grünenthal had been supplying thalidomide tablets since the 1970s to support leprosy hospitals in the treatment of a leprosy complication called ENL reaction. Strict conditions applied in order to prevent thalidomide from being given to pregnant women. Grünenthal supplied the drug on a not-for-profit basis.|
|December 2005||As thalidomide victims are now adults, the Disabled Children's Relief Foundation is renamed Contergan Foundation for People with Disabilities.|
|December 2007||First meeting between Grünenthal and representatives of the German Federal Association of Thalidomide Victims.|
|February 2008||Grünenthal works with the German government and the German Federal Association of Thalidomide Victims towards a collaborative solution to improve the situation of thalidomide victims.|
|May 2008||Grünenthal announces a voluntary payment of €50 million into the existing Contergan foundation (Conterganstiftung für behinderte Menschen), based in Germany. With the move, Grünenthal aims to double the Contergan Foundation's capital stock to enable the once-annual payment of an additional personal sum to thalidomide victims. The German Federal Association of Contergan Victims sees the model as another step in the right direction.|
|May 2009||Revision of the Contergan Foundation Act creates the legal basis enabling Grünenthal GmbH to pay the voluntary sum of €50 million into the foundation to improve the financial situation of thalidomide victims.|
|July 2009||Grünenthal transfers the voluntary sum of €50 million to the Contergan Foundation.|
The Foundation now has a capital stock of €100 million for annual special payments to thalidomide victims. As a result, in addition to a monthly pension of up to €1116, individuals damaged by thalidomide stand to receive annual payments of €460 to €3680 for the next 25 years. The pension and special payments are provided regardless of any other social benefits thalidomide victims receive. The top-up on payments puts them in a significantly more secure financial position than before in Germany and in comparison with other countries.
Grünenthal aspires to continue engaging in constructive dialogue with thalidomide victim.
|2010||About €500 million has been paid to thalidomide victims to date.|