UK victims affected by the anti-morning sickness drug Thalidomide have launched fresh legal action against Diageo, according to reports. 

Eight Britons are seeking damages over claims their disabilities were caused by the drug, taken by their mothers in the late 1950s and early 1960s, The Guardian reported. Diageo is embroiled in the action as it owns the now defunct drinks and pharmaceutical firm The Distillers Company, which distributed the drug. The drug, launched in the late 1950s, is believed to have caused birth defects to around 10,000 children worldwide. 

The latest victims to come forward are also seeking compensation from the drug’s German maker, Grünenthal. 

Fraser Whitehead, a lawyer at Slater and Gordon acting for the victims, said: "Grunenthal and Distillers have always claimed that the Thalidomide disaster was an unavoidable tragedy and that they did everything expected of drug companies at the time. Our research has demonstrated that is nonsense.” 

In a statement to just-drinks today (5 June), Diageo said: “We take any matter relating to Thalidomide injured people very seriously. We have a long track record of doing the right thing in our treatment of Thalidomide injured people in the UK as evidenced by our long-standing relationship with the Thalidomide Trust and the GBP60m of funding we have provided to the trust to ensure the long-term care and compensation for those genuinely affected.

"At this point we have not seen any details around these allegations and so have no further comment.”

The company made a settlement with victims from Australia and New Zealand late last year