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Primodos – The Hormone Pregnancy Test

16:44, 25/8/2020

Home » News & Knowledge » Primodos – The Hormone Pregnancy Test

What was Primodos used for and why was it withdrawn in the UK?


Primodos is a form of hormonal pregnancy test which was produced by the German company Schering AG (now Bayer PLC), and was available in the UK from 1958 to 1978. The medication was withdrawn from general dispensing after allegations emerged that it was causing miscarriages and a range of birth defects.

Amenorone Forte, produced by Roussel (now Sanofi), is another form of HPT which was prescribed in the UK.




Primodos dose and high progesterone content

Primodos was a medication that contained super-high levels of the hormone progesterone. In today’s terms, the amount of progesterone in one dose of Primodos is equivalent to taking 40 modern oral contraceptive pills.

It was initially thought that this high level of progesterone would simply be absorbed into the body. However, we now know that this has caused severe effects for those unborn children.

Some of the effects linked with Primodos are:

  • Miscarriage
  • Shortened limbs
  • Internal organ abnormalities and damage
  • Heart defects
  • Spina bifida
  • Brain damage
  • Blindness
  • Deafness

It is estimated that 1.5 million women in the UK were prescribed the drug in the UK before it was pulled from the market. Some women were even given the medication by their doctors (who had received free samples) under-the-table, with no prescription, and no records held of this being administered.


1968 Study

A study by Dr Dennis Cook, completed in 1968, showed that the incidence of birth defects in the UK increased with the sale of Primodos. Health Authorities in the UK requested that the use of Primodos as a HPT method be removed, and it was eventually taken off the market in 1978 – 11 years after concerns were initially raised in relation to the medication causing spina bifida.


Possible association between Primodos and birth defects

In 2017, a Sky News investigation discovered that evidence of an association between the drug and injuries was destroyed by a UK regulator in the 70s. Hundreds of documents were then uncovered in the Berlin Archives in 2017, relating to a study conducted by Professor Inman, showing that there was a 5/1 risk of a child being born with disabilities if their mother had been prescribed Primodos.

In 2018, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care ordered a review into concerns raised by patients and families who were victims of the pregnancy test drug. The report states that concerns about HPTs were raised as early as the 1950s – stating that they may be teratogens (an agent which causes malformation of an embryo).

Former prime Minister, Theresa May, recently made a statement to Sky News stating that the Government should consider redress for the victims of Primodos. She added:

“…I think the way that the campaigners on Primodos were treated was an injustice. They deserve to be treated fairly. They weren’t. They weren’t listened to.”


While reports have shown that there is no confirmed link, they have stated that there is a possible association between a woman being prescribed this medication, and her child being born with disabilities.

For a civil litigation claim, such as clinical negligence, you have to prove on the balance of probabilities that the injury has been sustained as a result of the negligence, which in this situation would be the continued provision of medication following reports of concerns from healthcare professionals and public bodies.


How do I make a claim?

If you feel that a medical professional has prescribed you or your mother this drug, and that this has resulted in injury for your child or yourself, then you could be entitled to compensation.

The team at Oakwood Solicitors will be able to give you free advice on the prospects of your case and whether you would be eligible to make a claim.


How soon must I commence my claim?

You have three years to bring about a claim from the initial prescription or from the date you became aware that the medication was the cause of your problems so do not delay. We add that this three-year period will not apply to everyone and therefore if you believe you have been affected, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss this aspect further.


How long will my case take to run?

Given the complexities involved in pursuing Clinical Negligence claims, they can often take 18-24 months to conclude and longer if Court proceedings have to be issued. Our investigations start by obtaining all relevant records and protocols before approaching independent medical experts for their opinion.

We will provide you with regular updates on the progress of your case to ensure that you are kept up to speed.


How much is my claim worth?

It is often difficult to value clinical negligence claims at their outset given the complexities involved however we will pursue two forms of compensation for you:

Firstly, we will pursue compensation known as general damages. This is an award of money for the pain and suffering you have endured as a result of the negligence.

Secondly, we will pursue compensation known as special damages. This is an award of money for all of your out of pocket expenses such as travel expenses, medication costs, loss of earnings, treatment costs both past and future. This list is not exhaustive and is very case-specific.


Oakwood Solicitors Ltd


Why use Oakwood Solicitors Ltd to make your Medical Negligence case?

We have a dedicated team of solicitors and paralegals who have many years’ experience between them in running cases of this nature. They are highly trained to deal with all aspects of clinical negligence.

We want to ensure at Oakwood Solicitors that clients are not overwhelmed by legal jargon, medical terms that they don’t understand and to allow the claims procedure to be as transparent as possible.


How is my case funded?

The majority of Clinical Negligence cases are funded by a Conditional Fee Agreement, more commonly known as a “no win no fee” agreement. This means that there will be nothing to pay upfront and nothing to pay if the claim has been lost. If you are successful in your claim a deduction of 25% of damages will be taken to cover the success fee and the shortfall in legal fees.

It may also be the case that an After the Event (ATE) insurance policy will be obtained to cover the costs of expensive medical reports and investigations. If an ATE insurance policy has to be obtained the cost of the same will be discussed with you at the appropriate point.

The cost of the ATE insurance policy is again taken from your damages and only payable if you are successful with your claim.


Closing words from the Medical Negligence team

We wholeheartedly agree with Theresa May’s statement regarding this matter and believe that any victim affected by Primodos is well within their legal right to redress. Legal action and a path to compensation should be available to all those who have suffered and continue to suffer to this day.



Get in touch today for a free, confidential initial consultation regarding the Primodos pregnancy test and the potential of your case gaining compensation.

Choose one of the methods on the right-hand side of this page, speak to us via our web chat feature, or call us on 0113 200 9787 to find out how we can help you.


Additional Sources:
SPG Law – Primodos Action Group
First Do No Harm – The report of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review (8th July 2020)
Report of the Commission on Human Medicines’ Expert Working Group on Hormone Pregnancy Tests (15th November 2017)

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