Prime minister announces fresh Primodos review of pregnancy test linked to birth defects

Primodos was a hormone test prescribed to expectant mothers in the 1960s and 1970s

The prime minister has announced a fresh review of pregnancy test Primodos will take place.

Aberdeen scientist Neil Vargesson published new research showing a potential link between Primodos pregnancy drug and birth defects last week.

Now Theresa May has ordered Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to look again at the safety of the controversial drug.

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, she said: “I recognise the lives of many individuals have been affected by this.

“The concerns raised by campaign groups about not just Primodos, but issues such as vaginal mesh and sodium valproate, have highlighted that there is an issue with our regulatory and healthcare system, and we are determined to address it.

“I have been clear that we need to do better. I was very struck by the powerful stories I heard.

“We need to see a faster, more understanding response when patients raise concerns and the Secretary of State for Health will be making a statement to the House this afternoon to set out his plans for a review of these issues.”

Jeremy Hunt told MPs a fresh review would take place to take new evidence, such as Mr Vargesson’s research, into account.

Mr Hunt also pledged the families of the Association for Children Damaged by Hormone Pregnancy Tests would be offered a full and up-to-date genetic clinical evaluation.

“Of course our first thoughts are with the individuals and families whose lives have been turned upside down by these issues,” he said.

“I have asked my ministerial colleague Lord O’Shaughnessy to drive forward, and where possible accelerate, the recommendations of the expert working group, further strengthening our systems for monitoring the safety of medicines in pregnancy.”

Former Conservative health minister Baroness Cumberlege will now lead three reviews – into Primodos, vaginal mesh and the anti-epilepsy drug sodium valproate – and consider whether there are grounds for wider inquiries into the failings alleged by campaigners.