Billinge mum suffers pregnancy test damage defeat

Chair of the Association for Children Damaged by Hormone Pregnancy Tests Marie Lyon speaks to the media at the publication of the Commission on Human Medicines' Expert Working Group Report on Hormone Pregnancy Tests, at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, London
Chair of the Association for Children Damaged by Hormone Pregnancy Tests Marie Lyon speaks to the media at the publication of the Commission on Human Medicines' Expert Working Group Report on Hormone Pregnancy Tests, at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, London

A Billinge mum who spearheaded a campaign to prove that a hormone pregnancy test in the 1960s and ’70s caused serious birth defects in their children have suffered a huge blow.

An official review into their claims over the Primodos test concluded that it wasn’t to blame.

Marie holds daughter Sarah, aged four months old

Marie holds daughter Sarah, aged four months old

The Commission on Human Medicines’ expert working group on Hormone Pregnancy Tests said the scientific evidence does “not support a causal association” between the Primodos test and birth defects.

It recommended that families who took an HPT and experienced an “adverse pregnancy outcome” should be offered genetic testing to see whether another underlying cause could be determined.

Billinge mum Marie Lyon, chairwoman of the Association for Children Damaged by Hormone Pregnancy Tests, said: “We are bitterly disappointed that the Government has once again let people down who have relied on them to be open and transparent.

“It is similar to the previous inquiries which seemed more inclined to protect the reputation of government agencies and the drug companies rather than looking after the health of the populations of the UK.”

Sarah, aged eight, pictured with her brother Stuart

Sarah, aged eight, pictured with her brother Stuart

The CHM said in a statement: “Following this extensive and rigorous review the overall conclusion, based on the totality of the data, is that the scientific evidence does not support a causal association between the use of HPTs such as Primodos and birth defects or miscarriage.

“In 2014 the Government committed to an independent review and having thoroughly examined all of the evidence, the conclusion of the review is that the use of HPTs, including Primodos, in early pregnancy was not responsible for serious birth defects experienced by some people.”

It said clinical practice has moved on since the ’70s but it made a series of recommendations to “further strengthen” systems for detecting, evaluating and communicating safety concerns for use of medicines in pregnancy.

These include: a working group to advise on better ways to collect and monitor data on the use of medicines in pregnancy and improving the impact of safety messages, monitoring their effect, and ensuring healthcare professionals and patients receive the best information about medicines in pregnancy.

In the past Ms Lyon, one of those who took the test, has argued there is “incontrovertible evidence” that the Committee on Safety of Medicines - an independent advisory committee to the UK medicines licensing authority - was “negligent in protecting the health of unborn babies”.

The 71-year-old said the drugs she was instructed to take in 1970 were “40 times the strength of an oral contraceptive”. Former Miss Great Britain Wendy George, also from Wigan, had also blamed the Primodos test on her son Jonathan’s being born with a club foot.