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Chair Appointed for Sodium Valproate Inquiry

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Minister Stephen Donnelly speaking at Departmental Briefing

We are very pleased to see a chairperson officially appointed for the Sodium Valproate Inquiry in Ireland.

Brid O’Flaherty BL has been appointed by the Minister for Health to conduct the inquiry which will investigate the historical licensing and prescribing of Sodim Valproate in Ireland.

While Sodium Valproate is an effective anti-seizure medication, it can cause birth defects, neuro-developmental disorders and autism in children whose mothers take such medicines during pregnancy.

The non-statutory inquiry will document the evolution of sodium valproate regulation in Ireland, the practices and controls in relation to prescribing and dispensing, and the timeline of developments in scientific knowledge about the potential impact of the drug on foetal development.

As many of our members, supporters and volunteers will be aware, Epilepsy Ireland campaigned tirelessly for a historical inquiry for over a decade alongside our colleagues in OACS Ireland. We are very pleased to see this appointment being made to formally signify the beginning of the inquiry and are particularly delighted for all those who have been affected by Sodium Valproate that they will now have an opportunity for their voices to be heard.

Commenting on the appointment of Brid O’Flaherty as Chairperson for the inquiry, Minister Donnelly said,

Today marks a significant step for those who have for years spoken out as a voice for their loved ones, for those who cannot use their own voices as a result of FVSD (Foetal Valproate Spectrum Disorder).

I’m delighted to be able to honour the commitment I made to them when we first met, beginning with the appointment of the chair of the inquiry.

We would like to thank Minister Donnelly for his commitment to delivering this extremely important inquiry, and indeed all TDs and Senators who supported the campaign for an inquiry over the many years.

Further details on today’s appointment of a Chairperson can be found by visiting the website. We look forward to engaging with the inquiry in the weeks and months ahead and will publicise details on how people affected by Sodium Valproate can take part.

Further Information

  • To learn more about our joint campaign with OACS Ireland regarding Sodium Valproate, visit the ‘Advocacy’ section of our website
  • For more information on Sodium Valproate, visit the ‘Valproate’ section of our website.
  • If you are taking Sodium Valproate and have any concerns, please discuss this with your healthcare professionals as soon as possible. DO NOT STOP TAKING THE MEDICATION WITHOUT FIRST CONSULTING WITH YOUR MEDICAL TEAM. If you are not currently attending specialist services, please contact your GP for advice and guidance to schedule a specialist review.
  • Further information on OACS Ireland can be found by visiting the OACS Ireland website