Report sets out vision for safe, effective and accessible medicines for pregnant women

on 16 May 2022

A report produced by the University of Birmingham lays out a road map of providing safe, effective and accessible medicine to pregnant women.

The report ‘The Healthy Mum, Healthy Baby, Healthy Future: The Case for UK Leadership in the Development of Safe, Effective and Accessible Medicines for Use in Pregnancy’ was launched in the House of Commons.

It proposes a road map to improve medicines for pregnant women and for future generations.

Globally, over 800 women and 12,000 babies die every day from preventable pregnancy-related complications, but only two medicines have been specifically developed for pregnancy-related conditions. No new medicines have been developed in decades for serious pregnancy-related complications.

The report provides eight recommendations, created using the evidence gathered, for the government to implement which could successfully prevent needless deaths and find new medicines that could treat life-threatening conditions affecting mothers and babies.

Recommendations include strengthening the UK’s research capabilities to address gaps in biological knowledge, more effective clinical trial support and harnessing collaborations between the government, universities and the pharmaceutical industry.

It also recommends women who have previously been excluded in clinical trials to be part of vital research, ensuring they are not left behind and can benefit from modern medical advances.

Birmingham Health Partners led Policy Commission Co-Chair, Professor Peter Brocklehurst, said: “This report represents a clear and timely platform to improve the care we provide to pregnant and breastfeeding women, by increasing the availability of safe, effective and accessible medicines for their use. The Commission's role was to provide a blueprint for action and will provide ongoing support in implementing the recommendations set out in this report, as there is an urgent need for action to address this underserved area of medical need. Without it, women and babies will continue to die when they could be saved. They will continue to experience long-term health effects, disability and distress, which might be avoided.”

A campaigner from the Epilepsy Society, Yasmin Golding, has welcomed the report saying: “As a mixed race woman with epilepsy there are pregnancy risks I cannot avoid, but many I should be able to in the age of modern medicine. This report gives me and other women hope that in the future they will be able to spend more time enjoying pregnancy and less worrying about avoidable risks that threaten them and their baby."

The full report and road map can be found here.