A woman whose son was born with birth defects after she took a hormone-based pregnancy test is urging the Government not to blow their second chance to do right by the women and children affected.

Robyn Hughes, whose son, shared her story with the New Zealand Herald to put pressure on the Government and encourage other women to come forward.

Hughes, 63, said she had "a lightbulb moment" last week after reading of new evidence from Britain which showed women who took hormone-based pill Primodos had a five in one chance of giving birth to a child with deformities.

The Tauranga woman was prescribed a hormone-based test when she was pregnant with her son in 1977 - two years after the Government ordered products of that type to be pulled from the market.

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Today she said she was pleased her story had people talking about the issue.

She is questioning why the Government did not talk to people who had taken the drug at the time it was banned.

Robyn Hughes' son was born premature and with tracheostenosis - a narrowing of the trachea. Photo / Supplied
Robyn Hughes' son was born premature and with tracheostenosis - a narrowing of the trachea. Photo / Supplied

"We need to know what happened and why didn't they talk to people affected at the time.

"This is the second chance the Government has to get to the bottom of it."

Hughes is calling for an expert working group to be put together made up of medical experts, someone like former Health and Disability commissioner Ron Paterson and women who took the drug.

Robyn Hughes is questioning why the Government did not talk to people who had taken the drug at the time it was banned. Photo / Andrew Warner
Robyn Hughes is questioning why the Government did not talk to people who had taken the drug at the time it was banned. Photo / Andrew Warner

She hoped they would be able to find out what was done to stop the drugs being dispensed and what the Government did or did not do for the women affected.

Medsafe general manager Chris James said general practices and pharmacies were alerted to the order to withdraw the drug via a clinical newsletter issued by the Department of Health in 1975. Pharmacies were also notified by the company's recall of the product.

He said Bayer, who bought out Primodos manufacturer Schering, was unable to provide sales data but confirmed the medicine was available in New Zealand from 1966 to June 9, 1975.

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Medsafe would continue to assess any reports received but a decision on additional levels of investigation such as formally establishing a working group would be a matter for future consideration, he said.

The international information surrounding Primodos was being formally reviewed by a working group in the United Kingdom and Medsafe and the Ministry of Health would be following that closely to learn what implications there might be for women in New Zealand, he said.

Bayer today refused to answer questions regarding the recall and the availability of the drug in New Zealand saying only that the company denied Primodos was responsible for causing any deformities in children.

"UK litigation in respect of Primodos, against Schering (which is now owned by Bayer), ended in 1982 when the claimants' legal team, with the approval of the court, decided to discontinue the litigation on the grounds that there was no realistic possibility of showing that Primodos caused the congenital abnormalities alleged," Bayer said in a statement.