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Farron calls on government to meet financial costs of victims dealing with harmful epilepsy drug

October 19, 2017 5:31 PM

South Lakes MP Tim Farron has called on the government to fund the financial costs of dealing with the dangerous effects of the drug sodium valproate.

Sodium Valproate - dubbed by some as the 'new thalidomide' - is one of a number of drugs that can be taken by pregnant women who suffer from epilepsy.

However, there is allegedly evidence as early as 1974 that Sodium Valproate was potentially harmful to human foetuses but the Committee on Safety of Medicines didn't want patients to see this information.

Since 1973, when it was first prescribed in the UK, approximately 7,000 children have been harmed by exposure to sodium valproate.

During a debate in the House of Commons this afternoon, the MP raised the case of one of his constituents, Nicola, who took sodium valproate during her pregnancy but was not informed at any point of the damaging side effects for her unborn child.

As a result of taking the drug, her son Oliver was born with chronic fatigue.

Tim said: "It's absolutely shameful that Nicola was not informed of the dangerous risks of taking this drug.

"As a result, the impact on Nicola's family has been immense and expensive.

"Over the years I've helped secure funding for Nicola to ensure that Oliver can receive treatment in Manchester.

"However, it should not be an MP's job to fight for funding for each individual case, but rather given that this is a drug which was prescribed by clinicians who knew about the potential risks, it is the Government that should take responsibility and set aside funds to provide financial assistance all victims."