Why I can’t agree with the conclusions of the report on Primodos

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


Campaigners have long argued that the hormone pregnancy test, Primodos, caused birth defects, but a UK government expert panel recently dismissed these claims.

So what evidence is there for the Commission on Human Medicines’ (CHM) conclusion? As it happens, not a lot. There were only a handful of studies looking at whether Primodos could harm the developing baby, and most are decades old. Some of these studies suggest that Primodos caused birth defects; some do not. But the limited number of studies, their age and the different tests used to assess the effect of Primodos on the embryo, makes it difficult to be 100% conclusive.

Campaigners, perhaps unsurprisingly, suggest a cover up.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationThe Conversation
PublisherThe Conversation UK
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2017

Bibliographical note

Neil Vargesson has received funding from Wellcome Trust, National Insititutes of Health, The Royal Society, Newlife, Sarcoma UK to carry out research in the lab. Neil Vargesson has received no funding to carry out Primodos research. Neil Vargesson has shared his research findings on Primodos with the UK Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and discussed Primodos with alleged Primodos survivors.


  • Birth defects
  • Drug safety
  • Primodos
  • Pregnancy test
  • United Kingdom (UK)


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