Tuesday 12 December 2017

Britain’s first gay surrogate parents deny fabricating test results for clinical trials

Ella Pickover

Britain's first gay surrogate parents have denied fiddling data for their medical research company when they appeared in court.

Millionaires Barrie and Tony Drewitt-Barlow, who have five surrogate children, are accused of fabricating test results for clinical trials.

They are also accused of lying to an ethics committee by saying that Barrie was a nurse when he did not hold the appropriate qualifications.

Euroderm Research, which went into liquidation in March 2008, conducted tests for dermatological and cosmetic products.

The couple, from Chandlers Quay, Maldon, Essex, pleaded not guilty to the allegations when they appeared at London's Southwark Crown Court this afternoon.

They are charged with letting participants take part in trials more than once, not completing the necessary consent forms correctly and with making a false application for an ethics committee opinion.

The pair hit the headlines in 1999 when they became the first British same-sex couple to be named on their children's birth certificates.

Twins Aspen and Saffron were born to a surrogate mother in California, USA. Following a ruling by an American court they became the first British children to be registered as having two fathers and no mother.

Four years later, the Drewitt-Barlow's used the same egg donor and a different surrogate to have another child - Orlando.

Last year, the couple welcomed their fourth and fifth children into the world. Twin boys Dallas and Jasper were born to the same surrogate mother who carried Orlando.

The couple, who made their millions in cosmetic research, cemented their relationship with a civil partnership in 2006.

Tony, 47, who was a director of the company, and 42-year-old Barrie, the company's former manager of clinical operations, are both charged with five counts of contravening the Medicines for Human Use (Clinical Trials) Regulations.

The couple appeared in the dock with three other people - Dr Alex Morgan, 65, of Corporation Street, Holloway, north London, who is charged with two counts; Mandie Mayes, 50, of Mill Road, Maldon, Essex, who is charged with four counts and 58-year-old Dr David Shuttleworth, of Chappel Road, Fordham, Colchester, Essex, who was charged with five counts.

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, which is prosecuting the case, said it was the first case of its kind to go to court under the regulations.

The trial, which is expected to last for six weeks, is due to start on Wednesday afternoon.

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