Last week Jeff joined MPs from all parties in calling for an independent, judge-led inquiry into the use of hormone pregnancy test Primodos.
Primodos was taken by women in the 1960s and 1970s to test for pregnancy. There is now considerable evidence indicating that those who took the drug gave birth to babies with serious malformations or, in some cases, miscarried and had still births.
The Government agreed to set up an Expert Working Group (EWG) to review the scientific evidence in October 2014 which published its report last month.
The EWG’s report has come under intense criticism from survivors, their families and MPs for failing to review the evidence fairly and for ignoring the regulatory failures that allowed the drugs to be used for over 20 years.
MPs took part in a debate last week to call on the Government to set up an Independent Public Inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005. The inquiry would review the evidence on a possible association between hormone pregnancy tests and birth defects, and consider the regulatory failures of the Committee on Safety in Medicines whose role it was to regulate medicines at the time.
Speaking in the debate, Jeff said:
“The lesson we have to learn from previous scandals is that any inquiry must have the confidence of the victims. The report of the expert working group has already failed that test.
Constituents of mine who have been affected by hormone pregnancy tests have contacted me to say that they have no confidence in the process or the conclusions of the [Expert Working Group] report.
Something is not right and we need to get to the truth. We owe it to the victims and to people who may still be taking products related to these drugs.”