Following the publication of Baroness Cumberlege’s Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Review, which highlighted the distressing way in which so many women’s medical concerns were too often dismissed, I asked the UK Government for a review of male bias in the NHS.
The review looked at three areas: Primodos, a hormone- based pregnancy test that has led to miscarriages and birth defects in the 1960’s and 70’s; sodium valporate, an anti-epilepsy drug that has been definitively linked to autism and learning disabilities in children when taken during pregnancy; and vaginal mesh implants, used in the treatment of pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence, which have been linked to crippling, life-changing side-effects.
In all these cases and as multiple studies have shown, there is an imbalance between the experiences of men and women in many areas of medicine, with women’s health concerns less likely to be taken seriously. I was pleased the Minister agreed with this and outlined her commitment to addressing these unintentional biases and to learn from the mistakes of the past.
You can watch the exchange below.