Scots families who blame hormone pregnancy test drugs for causing birth defects hope a German government investigation will finally push the UK to give financial help to those affected.
Campaigners believe Primodos, which was manufactured in Germany, was responsible for causing thousands of abnormalities in babies – including heart defects, brain injuries and still births.
In July an UK independent review found that government health regulators had failed patients and that Primodos was responsible for “avoidable harm”.
Earlier this month the German Federal Ministry of Health announced it will launch a review into Primodos.
Now campaigners hope that pressure from Germany will encourage the UK government to finally introduce a financial scheme to help those harmed by the drug with the cost of their care.
Wilma Ord, 73, of Livingston, took Primodos in 1970 while pregnant.
Her daughter Kirsteen, now 50, was born profoundly deaf, severely asthmatic and with cerebral palsy.
Wilma said:“We have been fighting for this for so long.
“Some of those affected are now in their 50s and some of their parents who looked after them have already passed away.
“I’m in my seventies and my daughter needs my help to do most things so I worry about who will look her once I’m gone.
“We need to make sure those affected by Primodos are looked after because what happened to them was never their fault
“The move in Germany may help push the UK government to finally offer financial aid to those who were affected by Primodos.”
Primodos, was available from 1958 until 1978, when it was taken off the market.
It’s estimated 1.5 million women in the UK used the drug and the same formulation was also widely used in Germany under the brand name Duogynon.
The German review is expected to focus on whether connections between the then German regulator, the BGA, and the manufacturer Schering AG (today Bayer AG), led to the drug remaining on the market despite concerns about its safety.
Last year, campaigners travelled to Berlin to meet German MPs where they presented new analysis from Oxford University professors Carl Heneghan and Jeffrey Aronson, which found there was an association between the drug and malformations.
It was after this meeting that 30 German politicians wrote to the department of health calling for a review.
Marie Lyon, chair of the Association for Children Damaged by Hormone Pregnancy Tests and a leading Primodos campaigner said: “This is a huge step forward for the German campaign group and one we thought we would never see happen.
“Until now the German government have refused to acknowledge any evidence of harm, or initiate an independent inquiry. The MPs deserve recognition for their persistence and I send them huge congratulations on their well-deserved success.”
The German review is expected to return its findings next summer.
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, denies Primodos was responsible for causing deformities.
It 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.”