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Publication of independent medicines and medical devices safety review

9 July 2020 (updated on 9 July 2020)

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Health Minister, Nadine Dorries updated the House on the publication of the independent medicines and medical devices safety review which was first announced in February 2018.

Nadine Dorries: "The report has been published and it makes for harrowing reading."

Health Minister, Nadine Dorries told the House that the review was first announced in February 2018 "in response to public concern about the safety of medicines and medical devices used by the NHS".

She added that the review focussed on three areas: 

"The first is Primodos, a hormone based pregnancy test which is claimed to have led to miscarriages and birth defects during the 1960s and 70s. It was prescribed to more than 1.5 million women before it was withdrawn from use in 1978.

"The second is Sodium Valproate, an anti-epilepsy drug which has been definitively linked to autism and learning disabilities in children when taken during pregnancy.

"And the third is vaginal mesh implants used in the treatment of pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence, which have been linked to crippling life changing side effects." 

The Health Minister told the House that the report has now been published, and that "it makes for harrowing reading." The Minister added that "every page makes clear the pain and suffering that has been felt by so many patients and their families."

She added: "What is clear, and I'm sure the whole House will concur, is that the response to these issues from those in positions of authority has not always been good enough."

Alex Norris: "Ignored, belittled, derided, gas lit"

Shadow Health Minister, Alex Norris responded to the statement.

He said: "Ignored, belittled, derided, gas lit - those who've campaigned to highlight the harm done by Primodos, Sodium Valproate and pelvic mesh have been called every name under the sun."

Mr Norris thanked Baroness Cumberlege for her work in "overseeing a piece of work and making a huge difference to so many people both today and in the future."

The Shadow Health Minister said that he was glad that the Health Minister referenced that the healthcare system must do better to protect women.

He asked the Minister about the immediate need to create a task force to implement the report recommendations, and how long this would take.

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