German drug maker Gruenenthal appeals Spanish thalidomide ruling

A German pharmaceutical company says it is appealing a Spanish court ruling ordering it to pay compensation to 22 Spaniards who blame their disabilities on the drug thalidomide.

Gruenenthal Group said in a statement Friday that "the plaintiffs among others have failed to provide minimum evidence of their claim" that the drug was the cause of their disabilities.

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.

Madrid's provincial court ordered Gruenenthal last month to pay compensation according to the severity of the disability as recognized by Spain's Health Ministry.