A WOMAN born with extremely rare and life-changing eye conditions is one of thousands of campaigners calling for an investigation into a ‘pregnancy-test’ drug she claims caused her problems.

Elaine Pennington, from Billinge, has suffered severe depression and anxiety due to her rare conditions, which include mispositioned eye lenses, being unable to judge distances and severe light sensitivity.

After a lifetime of misdiagnosis, she discovered that the cause of her condition could be down to her mum taking the ‘pregnancy testing’ drug Primodos – which has been alleged to cause disfigurement in children – similar to the symptoms of Thalidomide.

The drug was prescribed to pregnant women in the late 60s and early 1970s, and has been linked to a wide range of serious foetal abnormalities, including cleft lip and palate, limb reduction deformities and heart issues.

Elaine is now one of many ‘victims’ fighting for an investigation into the drug made by Schering – now Bayer.

The 45-year-old said: “When I got told mum had taken Primodos when she was having me I immediately felt angry as it answered so many questions I’ve had in my life.

“It’s even in my medical records in brackets that my eye condition was a drug side effect.

“This should never have happened but we need to make sure it never happens ever again to anyone else.

“This drug has been used as an abortion drug in places like Africa with a double dose of what my mum had.

“All of my family have perfect vision yet I have had jam-jar glasses most of my life, have suffered from severe bullying and my disabilities affect everything I do.

“I was on beta-blockers and diazepam for years and I wouldn’t even have children for fear of passing this condition on to others.

“I can’t see stars in the sky or a person waving, I fall over a lot and opticians often want to diagnose me instead of just offering me help and support. It affects everything.

“We need answers and people need to know what happened to us.”

St Helens North MP Conor McGinn has backed the call for an investigation, he said: “Elaine and many others here in St Helens and across the country were affected by the use of this drug, which was prescribed even after it was known it could be harmful to children in the womb.

“I am supporting Elaine and the campaign in calling for all the evidence to be properly and independent considered, so that those affected are properly recognised and supported and that lessons are learned.”

Meanwhile, the campaign leader of the Association for Children damaged by Hormone Pregnancy Tests is encouraging others affected to get in touch as the investigation moves to the next stage.

Marie Lyon, who is originally from the borough, said: “We have been contacted by more than a hundred families during the last year and we feel there are many more families who have been affected who still are not aware of the damage these tablets may have caused during their pregnancy.

“We have an all party Parliamentary group with 128 MPs supporting the campaign and are disputing the recent Expert Working Group Report, published in November.

“In a recent back bench business debate in Westminster, the minister responded by saying “nothing is off the table.”

“We have also been assured that if further evidence is found the EWG will reconsider their conclusions and recommendations.

“I would urge all women who feel they were given these tablets, either out of a doctor’s drawer or by prescription to contact me by emailing marielyon@

virginmedia.com or by calling 01942 224720.”