More women who used potentially dangerous pregnancy-testing drug Primodos come forward

More women who used Primodos have contacted Medsafe. Photo/123RF
More women who used Primodos have contacted Medsafe. Photo/123RF

Women who were prescribed a pregnancy-testing drug thought to cause birth defects are continuing to come forward.

The Ministry of Health would not provide specific numbers but said fewer than 10 women who had been prescribed Primodos during the 1960s and 1970s had contacted Medsafe.

Women who took the hormone-based pregnancy-test pill Primodos had a higher chance of having children with severe deformities or other serious health problems, new evidence from the United Kingdom at the weekend showed.

Healthline had also received six calls related to Primodos with a variety of inquiries ranging from availability and use in New Zealand to information on potential effects.

Bayer, the company that now owns the company that manufactured Primodos, agreed to provide the Ministry of Health with information on how many patients received Primodos in New Zealand as soon as possible.

Primodos was introduced in 1958 in Britain and was on the market for 20 years. It contained strong hormones which was used in the morning-after pill.

In New Zealand it was banned in 1975.

British media reported that hundreds of families had long claimed Primodos caused birth defects and had been battling for years for compensation.

Until now, campaigners were unable to establish a causal link between the drug and their babies' health problems.

But they have been given hope by the discovery of archived documents in Germany which drew a connection between the two.

That has prompted the campaigners to allege a cover-up and compare it to the thalidomide scandal, in which thousands of mothers gave birth to children without limbs or with other defects after being prescribed the morning sickness drug.

Bayer continues to deny the drug was responsible for any congenital abnormalities.

- NZ Herald

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