Protesters outside Bayer's annual meeting in April / Getty Images


A teacher born with no penis and his bladder outside his body is battling the German pharmaceuticals giant Bayer for €55,000 compensation.

André Sommer, 35, needed nine operations and has to wear a urine bag because of birth defects he claims were caused by a pregancy-testing drug, Duogynon. His action against the company, which is being compared to the Thalidomide trials in Britain in the 1960s, opened in Berlin last week but judges rejected the case. His lawyers intend to appeal against the ruling at a higher court.

Duogynon, which is still available in Germany under a different name, was developed in the 1960s and marketed as a pregnancy test by Schering, a company later bought by Bayer.

Mr Sommer's mother was prescribed by her gynaecologist while pregnant in 1975 but soon suffered discharges and stomach aches. Her son was born, deformed, eight months later.

Doctors at the small Bavarian hospital were "dumbfounded by what they saw", Mr Sommer said. "My mother immediately made the connection to the drug" he added.

However, Bayer insists there is no link between the drug and any birth defects.