Parties support investigation into sodium valproate prescription

OACS Ireland has received some incredible news: Parties support an investigation into sodium valproate prescription.

SOURCE: Medical Independent (MI)

Sinn Féin has committed in its election manifesto to investigating the prescription of sodium valproate (Epilim), an anti-epileptic medication that can cause serious harm to the foetus in pregnancy.

The party’s general election manifesto, launched yesterday, commits to “investigating use of sodium valproate” and creating “dedicated healthcare pathways for those affected”.

A HSE-commissioned study has estimated that up to 1,250 children have experienced some form of neurodevelopmental delay and between 153 and 341 children a major congenital malformation, arising from sodium valproate exposure in utero from 1975 to 2015.

In 2018 the Oireachtas Health Committee recommended an independent inquiry and further consideration of the issue of compensation for families affected by foetal anticonvulsant syndrome (FACs).

However, outgoing Minister for Health Simon Harris had yet to decide on an independent investigation, and campaigners were due back before the Health Committee prior to the general election being called.

This week, Fianna Fáil’s health spokesperson Stephen Donnelly confirmed to the Medical Independent (MI) that he is “100 per cent” in favour of an independent inquiry “and I don’t understand how it hasn’t happened”.

On the issue of compensation, including whether the State or the pharmaceutical company may be liable, Mr Donnelly said “you can’t pre-empt a report”.

As matters stood, he said, the people affected were not getting the support they required from the State.

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