‘I’ll fight to discover what caused my daughter’s disability’

Marie Lyon  holds daughter Sarah, aged four months old.
Marie Lyon holds daughter Sarah, aged four months old.
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A St Helens woman who blames prescription drugs for her daughter being born without part of her left arm has launched a fight for justice.

Marie Lyon wants a public inquiry into why primodos was given to so many women between 1965 and 1978.

She believes the drug, which doctors believed was a reliable method of diagnosing pregnancy, caused many babies to be born with missing limbs.

Marie, 68, said: “Sarah has suffered greatly because of a pill that the drug companies and medical experts, I believe, knew was responsible for causing a wide range of problems for babies born after their mother’s had taken it.”

Her ordeal started in February 1970, Marie went to see her GP for a pregnancy test.

The excited young mother was given two pills to take which she was told was a more reliable method of diagnosing pregnancy.

Eight months later her daughter Sarah was born in Billinge Hospital without her left arm below the elbow.

Marie was one of thousands of expectant mothers to be given the pills - known as Primodos - which were dubbed ‘hormone pregnancy tests’.

Marie, who is also mum to Stuart, said: “I can remember being very excited and going to my GP.

“I’d recently moved to Hindley and it was really busy and I was kept waiting for a long time. Eventually a nurse came out and told me to take two pills over the next 12 hours that the doctor had given her.

“I was told that if there was no bleeding I was pregnant and sure enough that’s what happened and me and my husband were really excited as any first-time mum is.

“When Sarah was born at Billinge Hospital she had no arm below her left elbow.

“We were given no explanation. We were just told that it wasn’t uncommon and far worse things could have happened.”

Marie says she will not rest until a public inquiry is held into why Primodos was prescribed to so many women between 1965 and 1978 and how it was allowed to continue despite concerns being raised as early as 1967.

She is the current chair of The Association for Children Damaged by Hormone Pregnancy Tests - a group made up of parents and children who seek transparency over all issues surrounding Primodos.

The Association was originally formed in 1967 by Jack Astley MP but after years of fighting a legal action failed to reach a conclusion on Primodos and the group (which then had around 500 members) folded in 1982.

Marie, along with hundreds of others, have asked the Prime Minister as to why the then Committee on the Safety of Medicines, the World Health Organisation and the German drug manufacturer Bayer/Schering all said the drugs – which the Association say have affected thousands of people across Europe – were safe.

Bayer, still however, insist no link has been shown.

Mr Cameron has said all documents relating to Primodos will be made public.

l If you have been affected in a similar way, contact Marie via email at marielyon@virginmedia.com