A Lancashire mum fighting for justice for her severely handicapped daughter is hoping a drug safety review which opens in London today will back her case.
Samantha Scott-Edgar is one of 20,000 parents in the UK who blame the epilepsy drug sodium valproate for damaging their children in the womb.
The parents are pushing for a public inquiry into claims that doctors and the drug’s manufacturers failed to highlight sufficiently the dangerous side-effects during pregnancy.
“All the parents want is for someone to hold their hand up and say they were at fault,” said Samantha, whose 14-year-old daughter Faith has a mental age of less than four. “Faith will never have a future, she will never do her GCSE’s, she will never marry, or have children. Someone is responsible for that and they need to own up.”
Samantha, who lives in B uckshaw Village near Chorley, was taking sodium valproate – branded as Epilim – to treat her epilepsy when she and her ex-husband decided to try for a baby. She saw two GPs and a neurologist to make sure the drug was safe to take during pregnancy.
“All of them told me it was OK,” she said. “The drug labelling just said there was a chance of spina bifida and Down’s Syndrome. But I had multiple scans through pregnancy for those. There was no mention of anything else.”
A landmark court case on behalf of a large group of parents against drug manufacturers Sanofi-Aventis was abandoned three weeks before it was due to go before the High Court in 2010 after the Government withdrew funding. Now the parents are hoping today’s safety review by the European Medicines Agency in London will support their case.
“It took years and years for the Thalidomide families to get justice and we want the same,” said Samantha.