In June 1963 the Committee on Safety of Drugs (CSD) was established in the UK as a direct result of the Thalidomide scandal. The pharmaceutical industry agreed to cooperate with the CSD to examine the results of clinical trials and to look at a new drug’s potential toxicity, its effectiveness and the adverse reactions it might cause.
In 1968 lawmakers went even further with the Medicines Act. From now on all drugs (new ones and existing ones) had to go through peer review and were assessed for safety, quality and efficacy by the Medicines Division of the British Ministry of Health. As a result of these new regulations drug companies had to withdraw many medications already on the market.
The British government also added to the compensation payments that survivors were receiving from Distillers (the drug company that sold Thalidomide in the UK). In 1974 the government awarded £5 million (about $11.5 million CDN at the time) to a trust fund, in 1996 another £7 million (about $15 million CDN at the time). In 2010 the British government officially apologized to survivors and offered a new compensation package of £20 million (about $41 million CDN).
The Sunday Times, whose journalists had been investigating the story for years (especially Sir Harold Evans), played a crucial role in gathering public support for UK Thalidomiders. In 1972 the paper published a series of articles under the banner:
“Our Thalidomide Children: A Cause for National Shame”.