Trial Abandoned Following Funding Withdrawal
The Fetal Anti Convulsant Litigation will be discontinued at a hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand, London WC2A 2LL on Friday 28 January 2011.
David Body, a medical law and patients rights expert at National Law firm Irwin Mitchell, said in advance of the hearing: “We have been fighting on behalf of hundreds of children who have been injured after their mothers took Epilim in pregnancy for over six years, but we have been forced to abandon the trial of the action after Legal Services Commission funding was withdrawn.
“At a hearing on 28 January 2011 we will be advising the Court that our case against the manufacturers of Epilim must be discontinued, not because we have lost our fight in Court but because continuing without legal aid funding would place our clients at too great a financial risk.
“Our clients are understandably devastated that their case will never be heard in Court after six years of preparation for Trial. Not having lost at Court, our clients are understandably concerned to continue their fight to have the manufacturers of the drug, Sanofi, meet their obligations to the children injured by Epilim. We fully support our clients in their ongoing campaign to achieve compensation for the harm their children have suffered as a result of drug exposure.
“We are also concerned that the whole issue of legal aid funding for group actions against pharmaceutical companies must be given careful consideration in the current debate surrounding legal aid, to ensure proper access to justice for individuals who suffer serious drug-induced injuries.
“Without continued public funding of these multi-party actions, claims against pharmaceutical companies will not be brought and they will stand beyond the reach of the English and Welsh civil law.”