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New fight for compensation for birth defects

Primodos, a pregnancy test pill, may have caused birth defects and spontaneous miscarriage in women who took it to find out if they were pregnant. The victims of this drug are now hoping to succeed in legal action, which failed over 30 years ago.
Most people have heard of the tragedy of thalidomide and the birth abnormalities it caused in a generation of babies in the 1950s and 1960s. However, most have never heard of a drug called Primodos, which also caused serious birth defects and spontaneous miscarriage. This is probably due to the fact that a legal challenge brought more than 30 years ago failed to prove the link between the drug and the abnormalities.
However, a group of victims who suffered from these birth defects have joined together to try to claim compensation again. This time, with the support of 40 MPs, who are calling for a public enquiry.
Primodos was given to 1.5 million women during the 1960s and 1970s as a pregnancy-testing pill. It was believed that if a woman was pregnant, that the high doses of progesterone delivered in Primodos would be absorbed. And if she wasn’t pregnant, that the drug would just trigger her period.
However, what actually happened was spontaneous miscarriage, as Primodos was based on hormones used to create the ‘morning after’ pill, regularly used as a contraceptive today. In addition, thousands of babies were born with missing limbs, missing fingers, abnormal internal organs and other issues like brain damage and heart problems.
The Association for Children Damaged by Hormone Pregnancy Tests was set up by the families of people who felt that Primodos was responsible for their children’s abnormalities. When it was set up in 1978, there were between 500 and 700 members, with an additional 500 people fighting in Germany against the equivalent drug, Duogynon.
New evidence has been uncovered that Schering, the company that developed Primodos, paid GPs to prescribe the drug to pregnant women, and that they knew early on that Primodos caused miscarriages in rats. With growing support, the Health Minister, Dan Poulter, has agreed to investigate these claims in the hope that compensation payments will be made if the link is proven.
If you need help and advice about a medical negligence claim, please speak to a specialist clinical negligence solicitor who will be able to offer you the advice you need. Call 01302 320621 or email

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