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Sodium Valproate Inquiry Update.

Last Updated:
Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly

Epilepsy Ireland and OACS Ireland have received an invitation from the Minister for Health to meet in order to discuss the establishment of the inquiry into the historical licensing and prescribing of Sodium Valproate in Ireland.

We have accepted this invitation and will be meeting with the Minister and Department Officials leading the establishment of the inquiry on Tuesday.

Since the inquiry was first announced in November 2020, we have been liaising with the Department of Health on developing the Terms of Reference for the proposed inquiry. This has been a lengthy and drawn-out process as we aim to ensure that the inquiry’s terms give it the freedom to seek answers to the many questions families have.

Following a meeting with the Department in March, we believed that the finalised Terms of Reference, alongside the establishment of the inquiry, was imminent.

Unfortunately, this has not been case with recent correspondence from the Department containing vague references to inter-Departmental issues as the reason behind the delay in establishing the inquiry.

Families affected by Sodium Valproate have become increasingly frustrated and disillusioned with this process – believing that the Minister’s promise of a “families-first” approach to the inquiry has disintegrated. We have been left in the dark as to what the issues are, despite spending the last number of months working collaboratively with the Department to develop the current draft terms.

We are now at an extremely delicate phase of this process, and this is a crucial meeting in ensuring an effective inquiry into Sodium Valproate is established.

We look forward to meeting with the Minister and the Department on Tuesday. We will provide further updates as soon as possible thereafter.

Further information

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. **