A Bolton MP was one of several to call on the Department of Health to set up a compensation scheme for those alleged to be affected by Primodos.

The Hormone Pregnancy Test (HPT) was on the market in the UK between 1958 and 1978 and used by one and a half million women.

The HPT is alleged to be responsible for birth abnormalities but the link remains a cause of controversy. In 2020, a report by Baroness Cumberledge said it caused "avoidable harm" but, this year, the High Court ruled there was not enough evidence to warrant compensation for more than 100 claimants who brought a case against manufacturer Bayer AG.

And this month Bolton MP Yasmin Qureshi, a committed campaigner on the issue, was one of several to call on the Department of Health to set up a compensation scheme in a debate in the House of Commons.

Ms Qureshi said: "I remind this House that Primodos was a tablet given to patients by their general practitioner as a pregnancy test. It was 40 times – I repeat 40 times – the strength of an oral contraceptive today. 

"It does not take a scientist to imagine what a dosage of this strength would do to a foetus. The babies were born with deformities, babies who are adults and who have lived their whole lives with these disabilities."

Ms Qureshi told Health Minister Maria Caulfield: "An independent review found Primodos caused avoidable harm – the government cannot argue their way out of this – and recommended the families should have redress. 

"If the Minister wants to waste time by arguing the Cumberledge Review was not a scientific one, then we can have an independent review of all the scientific evidence, but let us not waste time, let us get on with it."

The MP was backed by the ex-Prime Minister Theresa May who commissioned the report by Baroness Cumberledge while in No 10.

She praised Ms Qureshi as an "intrepid campaigner".

Ms May said: "Up until recently, the government was able to say there was a legal case and they couldn’t do anything, or they couldn’t say anything, because there was a legal case going through the courts.

"Well, the case is no longer in the courts, as a result of the decision taken by Lady Justice Yip. So the position should be rather different."

Ms Caulfield agreed to meet with the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on HPTs and to return to the recommendations of Baroness Cumberledge.

She said: "I have pledged to meet the APPG and all its members. I have also pledged to look at the recommendations specifically in relation to Primodos. I think it is important to meet the families and the APPG, so that we can make progress on this issue."

This article was written by Jack Tooth. To contact him, email jack.tooth@newsquest.co.uk or follow @JTRTooth on Twitter.