Disabled Scot blasts hormone pregnancy test which he blames for birth defects – Daily Record
A man who believes he was born severely disabled because his mum took a hormone pregnancy test has joined campaigners in their fight for justice.
Primodos was given to women from 1958 until it was taken off the market in 1978.
By then, 1.5million females in the UK had taken it.
Campaigners believe it was responsible for causing thousands of abnormalities in babies including heart defects, brain injuries and still births.
Now Gary McFarlane, 48, has revealed his anger at the birth defects, which he believes were caused by Primodos.
When he was born in 1971, his arms were permanently straight and he had only one finger and one thumb that worked on both hands.
He also had club foot as well as dead muscle in both his upper arms and legs.
Gary, of Drumchapel, Glasgow, was transferred to London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital where he spent most of his childhood undergoing more than 100 painful operations in a bid to correct his arms, legs, hands and feet.
He said: “The way I was born has affected me all my life – how I walk, how I carry things. I was told to get on with it and it was an act of God.
“But now I feel that all I have been through could have been prevented if my mum had not been given Primodos.”
The test consisted of two pills that contained norethisterone and ethinylestradiol. It detected pregnancy by inducing menstruation in women who were not pregnant.
At age two, Gary had ground-breaking surgery where doctors broke his left arm and moved his chest muscle into his shoulder in an attempt to give him the ability to carry things with his arm, which was then fixed into a permanent position.
He had always known his mother Anne, now 71, had taken Primodos when pregnant.
But it was after seeing a TV documentary based on campaigners who blamed children’s birth defects on the NHS-approved drug earlier this year that he contacted The Association for Children Damaged by Hormone Pregnancy Tests.
Gary, who now lives in Southport on Merseyside, said: “It had an incredible impact. To see that there were people out there like me who’ve lived a similar experience and don’t know why it happened. I showed my mum the documentary and she broke down.
“She had always told me growing up that she was given tablets while pregnant with me.
“During her pregnancy, she felt something wasn’t right but the doctors told her it was her imagination. At that time,
people didn’t questions doctors. They took their word as gospel.
“But the more I looked into it, the more I realised Primodos could be to blame. It’s heartbreaking because women wouldn’t have taken it if they’d been made aware of the risks.
“Instead, my mum has lived her life wondering if it was something she’d done.”
The Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review’s probe into health scandals including Primodos is expected to conclude next year.
Campaigners hope the findings will end a 50-year fight for justice.
Marie Lyon, of the Association for Children Damaged by Hormone Pregnancy Tests, said: “Gary and his mum have lived with the devastating effects on their family without being aware that an HPT could have been responsible.”
Software designer Gary added: “It’s time people had answers.”
In 1982, a group action against Schering Chemicals, who produced Primodos, was shelved but the recent discovery of documents prompted calls for a Government investigation.
Bayer, which acquired Schering in 2006, said: “No new scientific knowledge has been produced which would call into question the validity of the previous assessment of there being no link between the use of Primodos and the occurrence of such congenital abnormalities.”
This content was originally published here.