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Government must apologise to those affected by Primodos, valproate, and mesh, says review

BMJ 2020; 370 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m2726 (Published 07 July 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;370:m2726
  1. Elisabeth Mahase
  1. The BMJ

The UK government must immediately issue an apology “on behalf of the healthcare system” to people affected by three medical interventions—Primodos, sodium valproate, and pelvic mesh—and ensure they are listened to, supported, and compensated, a long awaited safety review has concluded.1

“The system, and those that oversee it, need to acknowledge what has gone so badly wrong,” said the report of the review, chaired by the life peer Julia Cumberlege. It came after years—decades in the case of sodium valproate and Primodos—of campaigning by patients and affected families.

The independent review was commissioned in 2018 by then health secretary for England, Jeremy Hunt, to assess use of the three medical interventions across the NHS.2 The report has found that in all three instances patients’ concerns were often dismissed and that as a result they had to fight to be heard. There were many occasions where regulatory bodies could have acted sooner and where poor communication with doctors and between doctors prevented patients knowing about the risks of the interventions.

Concerns were also raised regarding conflicts of interest, “both potential and real, in the provision of care or treatment, particularly where …

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