A survivor of the drug thalidomide win against Ottawa

News 13 March, 2018
  • Photo Amélie St-Yves
    Claudie Briand in his workshop.

    Christopher Nardi

    Tuesday, 13 march 2018 19:29

    Tuesday, 13 march 2018 19:29

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    OTTAWA | survivor québécoise de la thalidomide has just won a legal battle of several years against the canadian government, which refused to recognize the cause of its deformation. A victory ” that will help all of the survivors forgotten,” she hopes.

    “I am so glad that I no longer sleep since I announced the news on Friday evening. It is a battle of several years that I am conducting with my lawyer and with this victory, I feel that I can finally walk with its head high,” says in a cheerful tone Claudie Briand.

    On Friday, a federal Court judge has ruled that the) 58 years of age was eligible for the compensation of hundreds of thousands of dollars after the government has refused on two occasions. He took the opportunity to scrape some of the eligibility criteria as “unreasonable”.

    Ms. Briand is one of hundreds of Canadians who were born with birth defects from the late 1950s because their mothers had consumed thalidomide, a drug against nausea.

    “My deformation caused me so many problems, both at the family level, social and emotional. I have been the victim of much harassment and bullying in my youth, so it has always been more difficult for me to make my way in life. I also had to take my pension at 52 years old because I had too much pain,” said Ms. Briand.

    Not eligible

    From 1990, the canadian government has set up a compensation fund for Canadians affected. In 2015, it has re-launched a new fund most important of which was based on the same eligibility criteria.

    But both times, it refused to recognize that the shortcomings of Ms. Briand were caused by the drug, because it did not have the required documents, such as an affidavit from the physician who had prescribed to her mother, or even of the medical records of the latter.

    “It was downright impossible for me to provide these documents. The doctor had died, my mother had died also, the pharmacy that filled the prescription did more and more, the archives of the hospital in Baie-Comeau, where I was born were spent in the fire”, laments the psychorééducatrice retired.

    She had, therefore, provided numerous notes from medical doctors, who confirmed that his disabilities were caused by thalidomide. In addition, she had obtained three affidavits from relatives of his mother who swore that she had consumed the drug.

    When everything has been rejected by the manager of the fund, it turned to the federal Court for a review of this decision. After a fight of nearly four years, she became the first canadian to win the case before the courts. It should, therefore, be entitled to a sum of $ 125,000 and an annual pension of 25 000 $ to 100 000 $.

    “The victory is much more important to me than just the money. For the first time, I feel that I can walk head high, because it acknowledges what happened to me. I hope that it is a victory that will help all of the survivors forgotten,” she said.

    The government has 30 days to appeal the decision.