The Aword

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size


E-mail Print PDF


The Glaxo case in 1995 ostensibly closed a chapter in the history of Myodil.

However, for those who continue to suffer the adverse effects of the agent, the fight is by no means over.

The Arachnoiditis Trust  and the Myodil Action Group called for a Public Enquiry into Myodil but this opportunity was refused by Baroness Jay.

The MP Tim Collins wrote to the Minister for Health in November 1997 about Myodil, and received a disappointing reply stating

"We have no plans to institute an inquiry into this issue." (Official Report 12 Novemeber 1997;Vol 300,c.596).

He later addressed the House of Commons in March 1998, 3 years ago almost exactly, on the issues surrounding Myodil-induced arachnoiditis.

He noted that although Baroness Jay  had written to Mrs. Ursula Coxhead, of the Myodil Action Group and acknowledged that

"The Department of Health does recognise the association between the use of  Myodil in myleography and the development of arachnoiditis in some patients",

she would not consider taking the matter further.

Mr.Collins spoke eloquently about the plight of one of his constituents who suffered from the condition and was wheel-chair bound and highly dependent.

He quoted the Newcastle paper The Journal which ran a sustained campaign on the issue and noted

"This will have to emerge in the courtroom because of the Government's steadfast refusal to hold an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the drug's use."

Mr. Collin's constituent ran up against a not infrequent occurrence: her medical notes going back as far as 1973 noted adhesive arachnoiditis as a diagnosis, but she was not told of this until 1994, when she obtained these notes.

The MP correctly pointed out to the House of Commons, that the pharmaceutical companies often resort to the defensive argument that arachnoiditis has arisen due to the spinal condition which necessitated the myelographic test.

Indeed, this is still going on: in Australia in a recent case involving Myodil,  the defence brought in  so-called expert testimony that tried to attribute the claimant's arachnoiditis to an inflammatory reaction as a result of a very large disc herniation. Happily, it seems that this argument failed to gain ground.

In 1999, I submitted a memorandum to the Health Select Committee for Adverse Clinical Events and called for research into arachnoiditis and a reconsideration on the issue of a Public Inquiry into Myodil-induced arachnoiditis.

Unfortunately, no action on the Myodil front has been taken.

I am now working with the Department of Health on the issue of arachnoiditis due to Epidural Steroid injections.

Currently, Mr. Collins is involved in setting up an All Party Action Group on Myodil, to which 18 MPs have committed themselves thus far (2 more are needed).

In Australia, The Chemically Induced Adhesive Arachnoiditis Society (CIAAS) set up by sufferer Derek Morrison, continue to campaign on the Myodil issue.

Apparently a meeting in England is pending, drawing visitors from around the globe.

Meanwhile, the Myodil Action Group continues its campaign here in the UK.