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    Archive for November, 2015

    Podemos, Mara Bizzotto, and thalidomide monsters

    Posted by Ivo Cerckel on 23rd November 2015

    Last updated 24 November 2015, 06h35 a.m. G.M.T.+8

    I said in my 24 November 2014 “Podemos and Spanish thalidomide petition to EU parliament” post that:

    “Upon assuming their mandates in the European Union (EU) parliament,  the Members of the EU Parliament (MEPs) from [Spain’s] Podemos party showed that we can attack the oligarchic nightmare with which thalidomide monsters are faced in the EU, due to the 1957 need of the European Economic Community (EEC) caste of the thalidomide scandal for its lunatic 1985 product-liability directive.
    “The EEC needed thalidomide, but the EU rejects the drug’s victims.
    “According to Chambers Giant Paperback Dictionary, “monster” can be defined as a deformed person, plant or animal.
    “Hence, anyone deformed by thalidomide, including this blogger, is by that definition a “monster. ”
    “This blogger is also such a monster.
    If he uses the noun “monster”, this is for the reason which makes you, dear reader, afraid of it.” (1)

    It would appear that Ms Mara Bizzotto, an Italian member of the EU parliament,
    filed with said parliament in June 2015
    a motion calling for a resolution of said parliament on a request for EU action in support of thalidomide victims.

    The motion calls on the EU commission to ask the member states involved in this _scandal_ to tackle and definitely resolve the problems of these citizens. (2)

    Note that Ms Bizzotto recognises that the history of the marketing of thalidomide displays the characteristics, not of a drama, but of a … scandal.

    Thalidomide was first marketed – in West Germany – in 1957, the same year that the EEC-Treaty was signed at Rome, after France had banned thalidomide. (3)

    European law has become the corner stone (“la pièce maîtresse”) of national legislations concerning consumers. (4)

    In order not to make it too obvious that thalidomide was necessary to achieve this,
    the then-EEC waited three decades until 25 July 1985 to adopt its Product-Liability Directive 85/374 EEC, already quoted in note (3) of this blog post.

    Isn’t it, three decades after this Directive, about time that the excellencies of the EU parliament finally face these consequences of the creation of the EEC,
    adopt the Bizzotto motion,
    and thereby order the EU member states involved in this _scandal_ to tackle and definitely resolve the problems of EU thalidomide monsters?

    Ivo Cerckel


    Podemos and Spanish thalidomide petition to EU parliament
    Posted by Ivo Cerckel on November 24th, 2014

    pursuant to Rule 133 of the Rules of Procedure
    on a request for EU action in support of Thalidomide victims
    Mara Bizzotto

    Motion for a European Parliament resolution on a request for EU action in support of Thalidomide victims

    The European Parliament,
    – having regard to Rule 133 of its Rules of Procedure,
    A. whereas because of the placing on the European market of the antinausea drug Thalidomide by the German pharmaceutical company Chemie Grünenthal in 1958, at least 20 000 babies were born with serious physical deformities;
    B. whereas thousands of people are still alive who are affected by such deformities and who have never received equitable compensation for the harm inflicted on them;

    1. Calls on the Commission to ask the Member States involved in this scandal to tackle and definitely resolve the problems of these citizens.

    Last updated: 4 August 2015

    Legal tabloids tell us that thalidomide is an example of the development-risk defence which allows producers to escape liability if they prove that the state of scientific and technical knowledge at the time when they put the product into circulation was not such as to enable the existence of a defect to be discovered, as defined at present “a contrario” (“argument based on the contrary” – denotes any proposition that is argued to be correct because it is not disproven by a certain case, says Wikipedia) in article 15(1)(b) of the 1985 EEC Product Liability Directive, formally Council Directive 85/374/EEC of 25 July 1985 on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States concerning liability for defective products.

    Dr. Herman Cousy, professor emeritus from the law department of the K.U. Leuven,
    has demonstrated in 1996 that the thalidomide scandal cannot be considered to be an example of the development-risk defence
    by saying on p. 163, in note 28,
    of his paper “The Precautionary Principle: A Status Questionis” published in the “Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance – Issues and Practice”, also available on the website of the “Geneva Association”, l’”Association Internationale pour l’Etude de l’Economie de l’Assurance”, the leading international think tank of the insurance industry, that :
    “One often cites the Thalidomide (Contergan) case as an example of a development risk situation, although it appears that when thalidomide was brought onto the German market, the product had been banned in France. Can it be readily upheld, under such circumstances, that the conditions for a development risk situation were fulfilled?”

    This means that the primary cause of the thalidomide scandal is the fact that after the French Leviathan had banned thalidomide, other Leviathans, whose main reason for existence would be to “protect” their citizens, did not prevent the product being brought onto “their” markets nor did they immediately order the withdrawal of thalidomide from “their” markets, once the product appeared there after the French ban.

    Jean-Sylvestre Bergé and Sophie Robin-Olivier, “Introduction au droit européen”, Presses Universitaires de France, 2008, 1st ed., section 377

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