Ottawa – Gord Brown, Member of Parliament for Leeds-Grenville – Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, today notes that he is pleased that the House of Commons health committee has requested the health minister to change the compensation criteria for thalidomide survivors.
“I have been working on this for just over a year. I am pleased to see that the committee sees that a physical examination and the balance of probabilities is a better way to determine qualification for thalidomide compensation,” Brown says.
Under the current rules for the 2015 Thalidomide Survivors Compensation Program, survivors must produce paperwork that in many cases after 50 or more years has been lost or destroyed. Meanwhile, in other jurisdictions, those without paper work were examined by a medical professional and a tribunal reviewed the probability that their disabilities were caused by Thalidomide.
“In Britain especially they worked on a grid system and anyone scoring more than 50 points received compensation,” explains Brown.
The grid looks at such items as whether or not the drug was available to the mother, and it looks at the physical disabilities and the medical records of the survivor. It also can use genetic testing if the first few criteria do not provide adequate proof.
“Genetics can’t prove disabilities were caused by thalidomide but it can rule out other causes,” he says.
Brown notes the committee recommendation has been sent to the Health Minister Jane Philpott.
“Normally they would have produced a report but recognizing that time is of the essence, the committee determined a letter was the best approach. It is now up to the health minister to do the right thing for these survivors,” he explains.