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Lawyers act for those affected by Epilim in forthcoming government review

Leigh Day acts for charities dealing with those affected by Sodium Valproate (Epilim) in the forthcoming Cumberlege Review

Posted on 23 March 2018

Law firm Leigh Day have announced that they are acting on behalf of campaigners concerned with the alleged effects of the drug Sodium Valproate (known by its brand name Epilim) and will be providing a submission on the effects of the epilepsy drug to the Cumberlege Review.

The Review, headed by Baroness Julia Cumberlege, was ordered by the government to look into how UK authorities responded to concerns over three major medical issues, these include the pregnancy test Primodos, vaginal mesh implants and Sodium Valproate cases.

Campaigners say that warnings that Sodium Valproate could cause birth defects and developmental problems in the babies of pregnant mothers taking the drug should have been made public more than 40 years ago.

According to campaigners, regulators knew about the risks in the 1970s when they were considering licensing sodium valproate for the control of seizures in epilepsy, but documents show they thought telling patients “could give rise to fruitless anxiety”.

Bozena Michalowska-Howells, head of the product safety team at Leigh Day, is working with the Organisation for Anti-Convulsant Syndrome OACS, a charity supporting all families touched by Fetal Anti-Convulsant Syndromes (FVS) allegedly caused by Sodium Valproate, and FACSaware, a campaign group raising global awareness of the side effects of the drug.

The legal team will provide submissions for the Cumberlege Review in respect of how the UK authorities and the manufacturer of the drug, Sanofi, responded to patients’ concerns surrounding Epilim.

The submission will set out the legal case for a Judge Led Public Inquiry into the regulatory and legal failings exposed by those affected by Foetal Valproate Syndrome (FVS). It will also call for the creation of a Compensation Fund to provide financial support for all those affected by FVS in the UK.

If you would like to find out more about the work that Leigh Day are doing in respect of the submissions please email: valproate@leighday.co.uk