Novartis Must Pay up to 12.5 Million CHF to Victims

Novartis Must Pay up to 12.5 Million CHF to Victims

Fri, Feb 2nd 2024

Novartis Victims offered CHF 4 million after Münsterlingen’s drug trials, with up to 500 eligible for compensation.

Novartis has agreed to provide CHF 4 million towards solidarity payments for those affected by drug trials at the Münsterlingen TG psychiatric clinic. With an anticipated 500 eligible individuals, the total compensation could reach CHF 12.5 million.

According to a press release, the Thurgau canton and Novartis have reached a cost-sharing agreement for these payments. This arrangement means the pharmaceutical sector will cover about a third of the estimated compensation costs.

From 1940 to 1980, patients at Münsterlingen Psychiatric Hospital were unknowingly subjected to unauthorized drug tests led by psychiatrist Roland Kuhn, known for discovering the first antidepressant.

Victims directly impacted by these trials in Thurgau’s psychiatric facilities during this period may qualify for CHF 25,000 in compensation. However, heirs are not eligible for these funds.

Based on current data from Münsterlingen, the Thurgau canton estimates up to 500 potential claims.

A 2021 scientific review highlighted the extensive nature of these psychotropic drug trials at Münsterlingen, benefitting the Basel pharmaceutical sector, including Novartis’s predecessors.

Acknowledging the pharmaceutical industry’s moral responsibility, Thurgau sought a significant financial contribution towards victim compensation, facilitated by negotiations led by the Department of Finance and Social Affairs and Cantonal Councillor Urs Martin (SVP).

This compensation initiative, a first in Switzerland for such cases, is supported by new legislation effective from 2025 to 2033, aimed at addressing the enduring impact on victims’ lives.

The cantonal government’s proposal is pending discussion in the cantonal parliament.


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