Cantillons Solicitors welcome the decision of the Minister for Health to hold an Inquiry into Epilim
The State believe up to 1,250 children born between 1975 and 2015 may have experienced some form of neurodevelopmental delay after the use of the epilepsy drug, Sodium Valproate, by their mothers while pregnant.The Oireachtas FACS Report by the Joint Committee on Health of May 2018, made a number of recommendations including the establishment of an independent investigation to examine the historical use of valproate medicines in Ireland and into the ongoing effects of valproate medicines in this jurisdiction. Unfortunately, many of the recommendations in that Report have yet to be implemented.
In the UK, the Cumberlege Review published in July 2020, made some troubling findings including the fact that since 1972, there was evidence that Valproate can cause physical and neurodevelopmental effects in children, if taken by mothers during pregnancy. The Review was critical of the UK ‘system’ including manufacturers, regulators, clinicians and policy makers which ultimately failed to have adequate regard for patient safety, for example, by not identifying risks or acting on known risks in a timely manner. Worryingly the Review highlighted women are still becoming pregnant whilst on Valproate without any knowledge of the risks.It is hoped that the Terms of Reference for such an Inquiry will fully meet the requirements of the families affected.
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