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PM: We must recognise impact of deformity drug

By Jason Farrell, Senior Political Correspondent
The Prime Minister has called for recognition of the impact of a drug that allegedly caused deformities to babies in the womb.
Primodos was given to women by GPs in the 1960s and 70s as a pregnancy test.A Sky News investigation earlier this year uncovered that research from archives in Berlin which showed the drug had a one-in-five risk of causing birth defects - but that evidence of this was covered up in order to frustrate claimants.Campaigners have welcomed what is the most significant intervention by a Prime Minister on this issue in the past 50 years.Theresa May was responding to a question from Mims Davies.The Conservative MP for Eastleigh said: "In the 1960's and 70's thousands of women were prescribed Primodos as a pregnancy test."This resulted in profound effects for the babies that followed, including my constituent Charlotte Fenceham, who cares as the sister alongside elderly parents for her brother Stephen who was profoundly affected."Does the Prime Minister agree with me that those families do now deserve justice and there should be a chance to launch a public inquiry into this terrible scandal?"
PM: We must recognise impact of deformity drug

Video:
Primodos: The Secret Drug Scandal
The Prime Minister responded: "My honourable friend has raised an important issue and she is absolutely right to do so."And we should recognise the impact that this had on those women who took this hormone pregnancy test during pregnancy from the late 1950's into the 1970's. I think 1978 was the last time."There is an expert working group which has been set up, which is looking into this issue, which is due to publish its findings in the autumn, but I would be very happy to meet my honourable friend to discuss this issue with her."
It comes as MPs have called for a public inquiry.The expert working group run by the MHRA is due to release its report on Hormone Pregnancy Tests (HPTs) in October.The Sky News documentary broadcast in March found that alarms had been raised about Primodos, but not headed by the manufacturer and British regulatory authorities. We also discovered that the drug was used in some countries to induce abortions.
PM: We must recognise impact of deformity drug

Image:
Primodos used to be given as a pregnancy test
Our report also highlighted a multi-million dollar settlement in America to a family in Wyoming who had used a very similar drug.Families in the UK have campaigned for justice for over 40 years and a legal challenge in 1982 failed to get off the ground due to a lack of conclusive evidence.However, new research conducted in Aberdeen on fish embryos appears to show that the drug can affect the growth of limbs, spinal cord and other aspects of embryo development in fish.The drug manufacturer Schering, now owned by Bayer, has always denied a causal link between Primodos and deformities caused to babies in the womb.Responding to the Prime Minister's Comments, Marie Lyon, chair of the Association For Children Damaged By Hormone Pregnancy Tests, told Sky News: "The response from the Prime Minister is very welcome and recognises the battle we have had to publicly reveal the vast amounts of evidence about the dangers of HPTs."I would be happy to share this evidence with the PM."
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