Primodos fight gathers pace

Yasmin Qureshi MP (fourth from left) and Chair of the Association for Children Damaged by Hormone Pregnancy Tests Marie Lyon (second from right), and families affected by the drug Primodos
Yasmin Qureshi MP (fourth from left) and Chair of the Association for Children Damaged by Hormone Pregnancy Tests Marie Lyon (second from right), and families affected by the drug Primodos
Share this article

A Wigan mum fighting to prove that a hormone drug widely used in the 1960s and 70s caused serious birth defects has said she feels “very confident” about the future of the campaign.

Marie Lyons, chairwoman of the Association for Children Damaged by Hormone Pregnancy Tests, has been spearheading a campaign into the link between the Primodos pregnancy test and stillbirths, miscarriages and birth defects.

The 71-year-old, from Billinge, has previously spoken out about her own guilt for taking the two tablets which are believed to have caused her daughter, Sarah, to be born with partially-formed limbs.

Following the recent backbench debate in Parliament this month, the 71-year-old, who has been campaigning for at least five years, said she is “confident” that prime minister Theresa May will back their cause.

“If it hadn’t been for Brexit, she would have been more involved,” said Marie. “My feeling is that she will want to get to the bottom of what’s happened.

“The whole thing has been a scandal. The MHRA (Medical and Healthcare Regulations Agency) is desperate not to admit there’s a link. If they admit it they would then need to look at the past regulatory failures of the Committee on Safety of Medicines.

“We are now fighting for all of the documents to be reviewed. They have no confidence of the information they have put in the initial documents.”

Marie said she is “extremely confident” that they will “get to the truth” once the reports have be read by the scientific community.

The campaign has grown in strength since it first began five years ago. The group, which is now 300 strong started life just five years ago with 87 members.

“It’s upsetting when new people ring up,” she said. “Some have never had anymore children following their experience. One woman was sterilised because she couldn’t bear to take the chance again. They all thought it was their fault.”

One woman whose life has been affected by the Primodos scandal, is Adele Cummerson.

“I never knew I had a sister, she died when she was five and a half months old,” said Adele. “My mum, Anne Brannelly, was given the tablets by the doctor out of the drawer not by prescription.

“The whole way through her pregnancy she was bleeding. She had Michelle at 31.5 weeks. She had underdeveloped lungs but she recovered enough to get her home, but she died at five and a half months.

“My mum has suffered all her life. She has been living all her life thinking that it’s something she did wrong.

“When she found out about Primodos it sent her on a downward spiral, she thought why did I take thought tablets. Back then, the doctors were gods. We went to the doctor to request all the medical records to go through. Every bit of my mum’s medical records had been destroyed.”