Known worldwide to Thalidomide survivors as a hero — the journalist who led the ground-breaking investigation into Thalidomide in Europe — Sir Harold Evans has died of congestive heart failure. In the 60s and 70s, and indeed all his life, Sir Harold Evans fought to expose the Thalidomide scandal: one of the greatest manmade global disasters to ever have occurred.
He took on Thalidomide during his 14-year tenure as editor of the Sunday Times. Evans was responsible for the paper’s unique style of investigative reporting which brought to public attention many stories and scandals which were “officially” denied or ignored.
Thalidomide was one such story. He brought to light the plight of hundreds of British Thalidomide children who had never had any compensation for severe birth defects some had suffered. This turned into a campaign, and Evans himself took on the drug companies responsible for the manufacture of Thalidomide, pursuing them through the English courts and eventually gaining victory in the European Court of Human Rights. As a result, the victims’ families won compensation after more than a decade. Moreover, the British Government was compelled to change the law inhibiting the reporting of civil cases.
US Thalidomide survivors join with their international brothers and sisters in gratitude for his investigative journalism that set the bar high; his tenacity; his genuine interest in justice for Thalidomide survivors; and his advocacy.