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Last Thursday the House of Commons held a debate on the ongoing inquiry into the effects of Primodos and whether it caused birth defects in children. Primodos was a hormone-based pregnancy test used in the 1960’s and 70’s and was prescribed by many doctors at the time.
In the debate I spoke on behalf of my constituents, Pamela Mawdsley and her daughter Louise; a constituent who lost a baby son and Sonia Fitzpatrick who has been affected by the Primados her mother took in pregnancy.
This scandal is as bad as the Thalidomide scandal though it has never been acknowledged and nor have the families who have been affected had any apology or recognition of the hell they have been put through. From the late 1960s, there were worrying reports of the effects that taking this drug, which has no therapeutic value and was administered as a pregnancy test, was causing the unwanted loss of pregnancies and significant disabilities in children who’s mothers had taken it yet it was eight years before these warnings were acted on in Britain. In the early 1970s, its use was banned in pregnant women in some European countries but not until 1978 was this done in Britain. However, there was no follow through or acknowledgement that some of the many significant disabilities the children of those who took Primados are living with have been caused by the drug. Families have simply been left in limbo.
The Government established an independent review of the evidence about what happened in 2014 though it seems to be proceeding very slowly, in secrecy and without the confidence of those affected. Campaigners have one observer but she has been made to sign a confidentially clause which prevents her from even talking to other families about it – this is absurd. There are concerns about whether some of the panel members have conflicts of interest and it is clear that the Minister, David Mowatt needs to move swiftly and decisively to regain the confidence of the families affected. I hope, following the debate that he will now do so.
I will be following developments extremely closely to try and make sure that this review is a success.