Newspaper article The Canadian Press

New Program for Canadian Thalidomide Survivors Aims to Help with Costs of Aging

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

New Program for Canadian Thalidomide Survivors Aims to Help with Costs of Aging

Article excerpt

New aid program for Canadian 'thalidomiders'

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OTTAWA - Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor says the federal government is launching a new financial program in the spring for Canadians harmed by a now-banned pregnancy drug.

The Canadian Thalidomide Survivors Support Program will replace an existing one and provide a tax-free, lump sum payment to survivors to help cover health-care needs.

Thalidomide was a drug billed as a safe, effective sedative and morning-sickness remedy when it first became available in Canada in 1959 but it was banned in 1962 after it was found to be causing widespread birth defects and infant deaths.

The new program includes a special fund to assist survivors with medical expenses such as specialized surgery not otherwise covered by provincial and territorial health plans, to help deal with new challenges that emerge as they age. …

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