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Primodos / Duogynon

April 30, 2010: Bayer Shareholder Meeting in Cologne

Primodos victims demand apology from Bayer

Karl Murphy from Liverpool and John Walmisley Santiago from London will speak at Bayer´s shareholder meeting in Cologne/Germany tomorrow. They will demand that the company apologizes to Primodos victims and offers a compensation scheme. Attending will be Bayer´s board, supervisory board and about 4000 shareholders.

Karl Murphy will say in the meeting: “Bayer have sent me a letter saying that there was no suspicion of an association between the hormones used in Primodos and any teratogenic effects. They have also said there is no association between the ingestion during pregnancy of the hormones contained in Primodos and congenital deformities alleged by myself. If Bayer are so convinced that the substances Norethisterone or Ethinlystrodiol don´t cause deformities, why put the warning on the back of each Primodos box? Why do all Bayer products which contain Norethisterone warn that a pregnant lady should not take this drug?” Murphy is the Vice Chairman of the Association of Children Damaged by Hormone Pregnancy Tests. “I ask Bayer Schering, if they are so convinced that this drug does not cause deformities, bring one of your family or employees who have just found they are pregnant and are in the first trimester of pregnancy and put them on stage and take the 2 Primodos tablets that I have from the 1970’s in front of your shareholders to show them it does not harm the baby. I know you would not do that and as I am a caring person would not give you the tablets and let you do it as I know what effects this drug would do to the unborn baby and how it would struggle through it’s life like all the victims here today who have been damaged”, Murphy adds.

John Walmisley Santiago will also adress towards the shareholders: “Many of your are parents. I know it is such a lovely experience to come home with your new baby to show to your friends and family. Even as you walk down the road, passersby will smile and look into your new pram to see the lovely new baby. But not if your child is deformed. My parents came home from hospital with a deformed child caused by an overdose of Primodos, a drug made by Schering.”

Primodos was prescribed as a hormone pregnancy test in the sixties and seventies. Several thousand children were left with deformities after their mothers took Primodos. The drug was produced by the German company Schering which was taken over by the chemical and pharmaceutical producer Bayer in 2006.

Already in 1967 the then Committee on Safety of Drugs was warned by a doctor - Dr. Isabel Gal - that foetal abnormalities were associated with the use of hormonal pregnancy testing. In the same year a new and easy method of confirming pregnancy had become available, measuring the level of hormones already present in the body by a simple urine test.

Two medical advisors from Schering Chemical Ltd in Britain were disturbed by Dr. Gal’s findings and examined the details of Primodos sales throughout the country. The Sunday Times later obtained a copy of a letter to Schering´s head office in which the advisors expressed their concern: “We must reach a decision regarding our own product Primodos and its possible relationship to foetal abnormalities. As manufacturers it is our moral duty to do all possible to ensure the safety of the preparations which we market.” The letter went on, “ethically speaking we are not satisfied that sufficient has been done to remove suspicion that has been cast upon Primodos to a sufficient degree, for us to be confident in supporting its continued availability to pregnant women in this country.”

Santiago and Murphy appear in the Bayer meeting by invitation of the Coalition against Bayer Dangers, an international network based in Germany that has been monitoring Bayer for thirty years. Both are available for interviews.

contact Karl Murphy: 07921 262018 (mobile) or 0151 430 7899, Email kcbm@blueyonder.co.uk
contact John Walmisley Santiago: john.walmisleysantiago@bt.com

Please find more information here