Prime Minister promises to look into Little Lever mum's pregnancy drug claims

Yasmin Qureshi, second left, Nichola Williams, centre and fellow campaigners outside 10 Downing Street

Yasmin Qureshi, second left, Nichola Williams, centre and fellow campaigners outside 10 Downing Street

First published in News The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , health reporter

THE Prime Minister says he will speak to a Bolton MP about a Little Lever mum who claims her life was ruined by a pregnancy testing drug.

Nichola Williams and Bolton South East MP, Yasmin Qureshi, yesterday handed over a petition of more than 400 signatures to Downing Street calling for a public inquiry into the drug Primodos.

Ms Qureshi asked David Cameron if he would attend a meeting of more than 50 alleged victims and 24 MPs, also held yesterday.

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, he said: “I don’t think I will able to attend to see her constituents and the people she has bought with her.

“But I am happy to have a conversation with Ms Qureshi about what can be done and understand what more could be communicated to these people. I am sure we could fix that up.”

Primodos was produced by Schering — a German company later taken over by Bayer — and was given to women in the UK by GPs in the 1960s and 1970s as a pregnancy test.

Campaigners claim the drug caused deformities in children and serious long-term health problems for alleged victims — claims the drug company has always denied.

Ms Qureshi has led the fight for a public inquiry and has formed an all-party parliamentary group to “bring justice” for alleged victims like Ms Williams.

The Government’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) sent a director to yesterday’s meeting.

The MHRA denies any “causal” link between hormonal pregnancy tests and deformities in children.

An MHRA spokesman said: “Whilst we understand concerns about the findings, in some studies, for an association between hormone pregnancy tests taken during pregnancy and abnormalities in the children, investigating the effect of medicines in pregnancy is complex and subject to a number of unique challenges.

“Having carefully considered the key evidence, our view is that the data is not sufficient to support a causal association between the use of HPTs and congenital abnormalities".

Ms Williams, aged 42, claims to have uncovered further evidence that the Government was warned about the dangers of pregnancy testing drugs as far back as 1967.

The mum-of three was born with her stomach on the wrong side, seven spleens, a hole in her heart, spinal defects and in 2006 she developed a rare kidney cancer.

Bayer declined their invitation to yesterday’s meeting with victims.

A spokesman said: “Bayer denies that Primodos was responsible for causing any deformities in children.

“UK litigation in respect of Primodos, against Schering (which is now owned by Bayer), ended in 1982 when the claimants’ legal team, with the approval of the court, decided to discontinue the litigation on the grounds that there was no realistic possibility of showing that Primodos caused the congenital abnormalities alleged.

“Since the discontinuation of the legal action in 1982, no new scientific knowledge has been produced which would call into question the validity of the previous assessment of there being no link between the use of Primodos and the occurrence of such congenital abnormalities.”

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