Families urge Donnelly to hold inquiry into use of epilepsy drug during pregnancy.

On Saturday the 04/03/2023, Niamh Griffin from the Irish Examiner published yet another outstanding article on the lack of justice for those who have been injured by Epilim (Sodium Valproate) some children and adults who are catastrophically injured. The truth behind this medication must be exposed in Ireland, the promised Inquiry must be established. OACS Ireland and our families give sincere thanks to Niamh, the Irish Examiner for exposing the truth. We at OACS Ireland are forever thankful for Niamh’s constant reporting. Niamh has and is going above and beyond to ensure that the Scandal of Epilim (Sodium Valproate) is known to the wider public however, alarming it may be.

Karen Keely founder of OACS Ireland, (Organisation Anticonvulsant Syndromes Ireland) an advocacy group for families affected by sodium valproate prescribed during pregnancy. Photograph Moya NolanSAT, 04 MAR, 2023 – 02:19 NIAMH GRIFFIN

Families urge Donnelly to hold inquiry into use of epilepsy drug during pregnancy.

Families whose children were left with life-changing disabilities by an epilepsy drug used during pregnancy have repeated calls for Health Minister Stephen Donnelly to establish an inquiry.

Advocacy group OACS Ireland welcomed the latest multi-million-euro High Court settlement for a family affected by the use of sodium valproate, but said an inquiry, promised in 2020, is needed to ensure justice for all families.

settlement of €15m was made to Jack Clarke, Dublin, without admission of liability on Thursday. 

However, liability was admitted in a parallel case taken on behalf of his younger brother Tom. This was also settled on Thursday with a €2.65m interim payment for the next seven years.

OACS Ireland founder Karen Keely said: “We welcome this court settlement. However not all of our members will have the ability or the resources to take legal action through the courts in respect of the harm caused to them by valproate.” 

A UK inquiry found evidence of known risks dating back to the 1980s.

“We once more call on the Minister for Health to confirm when he intends delivering on his 2020 commitment to holding an inquiry into the historical licensing and use of sodium valproate,” she said.

“Three years ago, the minister promised a ‘fair and fast’ inquiry and our members are still none the wiser as to when the inquiry will commence nor have, we received clarity from the minister on the version of the terms of reference meant to be governing the intended inquiry.” 

She argued an inquiry can find out how children came to be harmed by this drug, sold under the brand name Epilim, and whether that could have been avoided. 

The HSE estimates between 1975 and 2015 some 153 to 341 children may have experienced a major congenital malformation and up to 1,250 some form of neurodevelopmental delay.

Fetal Valproate Syndrome can include spina bifida, congenital heart defects, genital abnormalities, skeletal abnormalities, and developmental delay.

“It is very important to OACS Ireland members that the historical licensing of valproate be investigated thoroughly by the intended inquiry,” Ms Keely said.

“Not only to ascertain how OACS Ireland members came to be harmed by this drug but also from a wider public interest perspective to ensure the lessons learnt from this proposed inquiry on foot of an appropriate historical lookback would prevent any other drug causing the same devastating consequences.

Link to article: https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/arid-41084836.html