The group filing suit, Avite, represents about 180 families whose children were born with birth defects including abnormally short limbs or no arms, legs or hips, after their mothers were prescribed the drug Thalidomide, made by the German drug company Grunenthal.
The group is seeking about $277 million from the company, TheLocal.es reported Monday.
For years, Grunenthal refused to acknowledge its role in the birth defects, which are estimated to have affected as many as 20,000 babies in 40 countries before doctors stopped prescribing the drug, which was made to be an anesthetic, to pregnant women complaining of morning sickness.
Last year, for the first time Grunenthal apologized publicly, saying it was "very sorry" for its role in the malformed children.
Avite said on its website if their lawsuit is successful in a Madrid courtroom it would be the first time Grunenthal was ever held formally responsible for the birth defects. The site said a guilty verdict would "appease the suffering of Spanish victims, which began in their mothers' wombs and continues today, with the amputation of their arms and legs."
Spain was one of several countries including Canada and Japan where Thalidomide continued to be given to women even months after it was pulled in most other nations.
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