Spain's Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling that a German pharmaceutical company does not have to pay compensation to 22 Spaniards who blame their disabilities on the drug thalidomide.

The court said Wednesday that it upheld a Madrid provincial tribunal's acceptance last year of an appeal by the company Gruenenthal that the statute of limitations for the plaintiffs' case had expired.

The Madrid court initially ruled in favor of The Spanish Association of Thalidomide Victims and had ordered Gruenenthal to pay some 35 million euros ($39 million) in compensation.

Thalidomide was a sedative that some doctors prescribed between 1950 and 1960 for morning sickness. Thousands of babies whose mothers used it were born worldwide with abnormally short limbs and in some cases without arms, legs or hips.

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