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Support in Lords for Cumberlege Review recommendations

Lawyers representing families who want to see the Cumberlege Review recommendations actioned as soon as possible say they are encouraged by support voiced in the Lords debate on the Medicines and Medical Devices Bill today.

2 September 2020

Peers called for the implementation of Baroness Cumberlege’s report following the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review, published in July 2020.
 
Baroness Cumberlege told the Lords that she had been shaken by listening to the stories of 700 women and their families, among them those affected by the use in pregnancy of sodium valproate. She said: “Their testimony haunts me and impels me to right their wrongs.”
 
Her call for the appointment of a patient and safety commissioner was echoed by several peers, although the government has yet to agree to the proposal.
 
Baroness Cumberlege said her report had raised a clarion call for action among royal colleges of surgeons, obstetricians, physicians, general practitioners and the British Association of Gynaecologists and she was submitting an amendment to the Bill for the appointment of a patient safety commissioner who would be “a voice for patients, a listener for patients”.
 
She said she was forming a Parliamentary group, First Do No Harm, to ensure all recommendations are implemented.
 
Lord Brennan echoed her call and said the government should act forcefully to create a redress agency; a no-fault fairly based redress agency which doesn't take away social care, special educational provision or additional provision.
 
He said drug manufacturers, whose  capitalised market value in this country is several hundred billion, should pay and added:
 
“Sanofi, whose market value is 100 billion euros, can afford to contribute to the downside that comes to their place in the market.”
 
Lady Burt of Solihull told the story of a woman who had a horrific experience of vaginal mesh, also covered by the Cumberlege Review.
 
Leigh Day partner Boz Michalowska-Howells said:
 
“We can only echo the words of Lady Burt: We will do our utmost to ensure that women will be properly protected from inadequate testing of products, the failure to react and recognise when things are going wrong and the cover-ups of life-ruining mistakes.
 
“We will continue to press the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to action the recommendations of the Cumberlege Review, especially the need for redress, and the appointment of a patient safety commissioner.”

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