If I lived in America and was prescribed EPILIM during pregnancy I would have been successful in taking the claim on behalf of my Son into court.  Compensation has been granted in the USA to Claimants with Fetal Valproate Syndrome.  This shows to me that the drug company is responsible for the lifelong injuries incurred.  Some Claimants in the UK have tried to Sue their Neurologists and failed.  They lost because at the time it was common practise to prescribe EPILIM to women during pregnancy.  Research had been done in the 1980s showing the potential for teratogenic effects of EPILIM and other anti-convulsants.  As this was not publicly acknowledged by Sanofi, UK medical professionals continued to prescribe it. 

I hear you ask:  How does this affect me?  Well, in quite a few different ways.  Answer the following questions to find out how.

Do you and your family use pharmaceutical products?

The majority of us do at some point in our lives.  It may be over the counter products or prescription medication.  If you ever have unwanted side effects or injuries as a result of taking the products you will not be able to make a successful claim against the pharmaceutical company as British Law doesn’t enable you to.

Are you wealthy?

If you are wealthy and have millions to spend on a claim using top lawyers, British Law will not protect you.  You will not be able to receive compensatory damages because British legislation doesn’t clarify ‘defect’ and acceptable and unacceptable practise clearly enough.  When injuries are incurred by one of your dependants you will put money aside for them so that when you die they have financial security.  When you die your estate will be subject to Inheritance Tax.  The Inheritance Tax will be payable by your injured dependant diminishing the financial security you have worked hard to provide.

Do you have a Middle income?

Middle income families who have to give up work to care for their dependants, will often have savings and property.  You will not be able to claim state benefits as many are means tested.  You will have no option but to live off your savings and then sell your house.  When that has gone you will have to rely on state benefits and care in the community.  Unfortunately many of the disability services, day care centres and community enterprises are closing due to reduced funds.  I’m sure that you would love to participate in the ‘Big Society’ by volunteering your time to a community project but who will look after your dependant while you volunteer?  Respite care will not be available if you are physically able to care for your dependant.  The country needs an experienced and dedicated workforce.  Your skills are probably utilised more effectively in the workplace and the country would also benefit by your tax, National Insurance and pension contributions.

Whilst I was working I saved and that was for Andy’s future.  I saved a substantial amount and am therefore not entitled to means tested state benefits.  I am now living off my savings.

Do you have a low income?

If you have a low income or are unemployed you may be better off as you will be in receipt of disability living allowance.  If you’re in rented accommodation you may receive a grant from Social Services to adapt your house or the council may undertake the work themselves.  You will of course be in receipt of Housing and Council tax benefit and you will be entitled to free prescriptions, eye tests and dental care.

Do you own or manage a business?

The Disability Discrimination Act provides the basis for disabled people to have the opportunity to work.  It instructs that employers do what is practicably possible to accommodate the disabled employee.  My previous employer provided me with glasses for computer work, a flat screen monitor, a foot stool and occupational health assessments were always available.  This costs the business money.

Most large companies such as Severn Trent PLC have a flexible working policy to enable disabled employees and employees with dependants to work the hours that suit their needs.  To administer these policies costs money and can create an unpleasant atmosphere in the workplace when one person is allowed to work flexibly yet others aren’t.  These situations need to be proactively avoided.

I have been very lucky in my last job that my employer, Severn Trent Water went out of their way to provide me with the hours that I needed to fit in with childcare.  I had to resign as my injured Son needed stability and I couldn’t guarantee reliable childcare.  I was highly skilled and a valued employee but because of my Sons condition my employer has had to spend money on further training for existing and new employees.

I loved my job, the people I worked with, the company and the all important money.  I enjoyed spending money particularly on nice holidays, social activities, frivolous unessential items and saving money for Andy’s future.  Now it’s the bare necessities of food and bills.  I’ve had to cancel my charitable direct debits to The Red Cross and Wateraid, I still donate to charity by buying things from charity shops instead of shopping centres.  

So, are you high, middle or low income?

How would your life change if you were unable to hold someone accountable for injuries incurred?

How do you feel about the tax you pay being spent on providing the support needed as a result of someone else’s errors?

The 100 children in Group A of the EPILIM case will cost you, the taxpayer £1billion and there are plenty more who are not diagnosed or not registered in Group B.


Return to Main Page