Primodos

9th July 2020

Sir Mike Penning MP has welcomed the Cumberlege report which has concluded that both the state and the drug manufacturer have “an ethical responsibility” to fund the costs of care for the victims of the 1970s Primodos scandal.

Primodos was a hormone pregnancy test used in the 60s and 70s that induced menstruation in women. The subsequent presence or absence of menstrual bleeding was then used to determine pregnancy. The problem is that it was a highly invasive procedure and there is evidence to suggest it caused damage to the foetus in some women who were pregnant.

The NHS and drug manufacturer knew this was a dangerous drug in 1967 but the drug continued to be given to women up until 1978.

Back in October 2017, Sir Mike branded the previous Government report as a “whitewash” and condemned attempts to blame the families. Following that report and the Sky News investigation, Sir Mike was one of the MPs instrumental in securing a new independent report.

Speaking in a debate on the new report in the House of Commons today, Sir Mike made a passionate demand for the drug companies to compensate the victims.

Sir Mike asked:

“How are we going to compensate their families, those that lost their baby, those that had a still birth?”

He concluded:

“While we must make sure this never happens again, we must also make sure that we look after those families and that the drug companies pay for what they did to those families.”

Speaking afterwards, Sir Mike said:

“At last we have a report that has seriously examined the evidence and reached the logical conclusion. This is a massive success for the campaigners. The victims have been put through a tremendous ordeal to get to where we are, and I am delighted for them.

“The victims need justice and they need support now. We must not let this roll on and on. I urge the Government to quickly act on the nine recommendations in the report.”

The new report, First Do No Harm, was published this week by the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review, chaired by Baroness Julia Cumberlege CBE DL and covered Primodos, the epilepsy drug Valproate and women left in severe pain following vaginal mesh surgical implants.

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