Epilepsy Ireland and our colleagues in OACS Ireland met last week with the Minister for Health to discuss the proposed Terms of Reference for the promised inquiry into the historical licensing and prescribing of Sodium Valproate.
The meeting was a frank exchange of views on the latest proposed terms of reference for the inquiry between the patient groups and the Minister and his officials. The Minister heard how frustrated families are at the pace of progress in establishing the long-awaited inquiry; the reservations that exist with the currently drafted terms; and how families continue to struggle to access services for their children living with Foetal Valproate Spectrum Disorder.
Although the Minister reiterated his commitment to the inquiry and to understanding the full history of Sodium Valproate in Ireland, our reservations remain in relation to the terms of reference, the powers of the inquiry and ultimately on whether it will deliver answers for families. However, it has been made clear that the currently drafted terms are the maximum which can be delivered.
OACS Ireland, as representatives of families affected, are now reflecting on the discussions, and will be consulting with members before deciding on whether to participate in the proposed inquiry or not.
As soon as further updates become available on this, we will share them on our website and social media channels. For more on our joint campaign surrounding Sodium Valproate, see the ‘Advocacy’ section of our website.
Further information on Sodium Valproate can be found in the 'Valproate' section of our website. If you are hearing about Sodium Valproate for the first time, see our section on why an inquiry was announced in November 2020. Finally, if you believe you may have been impacted by Sodium Valproate, please reach out to our colleagues in OACS Ireland.
**Women and girls should not stop taking valproate without first discussing it with their doctor. **