Primodos: Pregnancy test campaigners lose legal bid for damages | UK News


More than 100 plaintiffs trying to sue for damage to their babies allegedly caused by Primodos have had their legal challenges thrown out.

Their claim was against the maker of the pregnancy test drug Bayer and another pharmaceutical company Sanofi – which had made a similar product used by fewer women.

The claim was also against the Department of Health for failure to regulate Drugs when concerns first arose about it within the medical community.

Families claim that the hormonal pill used to determine if a woman was pregnant in the 1960s and 1970s caused miscarriages, stillbirths or birth defects in the babies of many women who were prescribed the drug by their doctors generalist.

But lawyers representing the drug companies have asked for an expungement, which essentially asks the court to dismiss non-viable claims, before they reach a full hearing.

Following the request for striking out, the plaintiffs’ solicitors withdrew, leaving them with pro bono lawyers, solicitors and experts.

This meant that lawyers acting for pharmaceutical companies could argue that plaintiffs had no lawyers and no funds and therefore the claim itself was unrealistic – they could not afford to bring it. before the courts.

Despite having apologized to the victims of Primodos in July 2020government lawyers also supported the strike request, arguing alongside manufacturers’ lawyers that the case was unrealistic.

Activists ‘fought hard’ for justice

The government’s apology came after a scathing review led by Baroness Cumberlege found ‘much anguish, suffering and many ruined lives’ caused by three medical products; vaginal mesh, Valproate and Primodos.

Then-Health Secretary Matt Hancock issued a ‘full apology’ agreeing the case was a scandal.

Referring to an initial lawsuit that failed in 1982, Madam Justice Jipp said: “I recognize the profound disappointment that my judgment will cause for the plaintiffs.

Learn more:
Primodos: how the scandal unfolded
Primodos: “significant” changes have been made to the key report
Primodos: Theresa May says victims were told ‘you imagine it’

“They believe, and no doubt will continue to believe, that HPTs (hormonal pregnancy tests) were the cause of the birth defects and loss of babies they suffered.

“No one has been able to definitively confirm that this belief is false. The plaintiffs do not believe justice was served in 1982 and have fought for justice ever since.

“While it appeared that the tide was changing over the past decade, developments were not backed in a direction that allowed them to demonstrate a real change from the position when previous test cases were discontinued in 1982.”

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Activists against Primodos

Limited funding

Referring to the plaintiffs’ ability to secure funding for a full legal action, Mrs Justice Jipp added: “It has now been over a year since their former lawyers were registered.

“They were unable to obtain alternative representation, other than by pro bono counsel. This arrangement does not cover the conduct of litigation.”

“The applicants have only limited funding…There is no evidence that they are likely to obtain the funds necessary to move their application forward.”

Activists and Sky News have in recent years found evidence of a link between the drug and birth defects – including records in Berlin suggesting the UK regulator discovered there was a significant risk to the foetus, but destroyed all the material on which its investigation was based.


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