The Lifeline Project was a well-regarded charity. Failure to carry out the targets within the contracts led the charity into insolvency and resulted in a personal, 7-year disqualification order.
However, sometimes epilepsy medication can cause harm to the patient or even their unborn child. This is particularly the case with Sodium Valproate, which goes by the brand names Epilim and Depakote.
Next week, women whose children have been harmed by this drug will give evidence to a European-wide safety review that will examine whether warnings about risks to unborn babies are strong enough.
All medication – not just Sodium Valproate – of course, has side-effects and risks. These must be weighed up against the benefits of medication. In order to weigh up the pros and cons, the patient and treating team must know what the risks and side-effects could be. Worryingly, this has not always been the case with Epilim – and I can say that from personal experience when I took the drug some years ago.
Sodium Valproate/Epilim used to be a very common medication for people with epilepsy, but for many years it has been known that Epilim increases the risk of a baby born to a mother taking Epilim suffering physical abnormalities and cognitive impairments. Babies exposed to Epilim/Sodium Valproate in the womb have a 10% chance of developing physical abnormalities and a 4 in 10 chance of developing cognitive problems, such as learning disabilities and autism. Evidence of this risk emerged back in the 1980s, but for years many patients have not been told about the risk. Medical advice now is that Epilim/Sodium Valproate should not be used during pregnancy unless there is no safer alternative and only after a careful discussion of the risks.
There is currently a group action in France against the drug company which makes Sodium Valproate, Sanofi. In the past, there was also a group action in the UK.
Whilst drug companies must give comprehensive and clear advice on all side-effects and potential risks, the responsibility to inform a patient and weigh up the pros and cons does not fall solely to the drug company. A patient's treating doctor must advise the patient about the side-effects and risks. The doctor might have been negligent if she fails to do so.
Doctors are under a duty to take reasonable care to ensure that the patient is aware of any material risks involved in any recommended treatment and of any reasonable alternative or variant treatments. A significant risk is one which would affect the judgment of a reasonable patient. Surely a 10% risk of a baby developing physical abnormalities and a 25% risk of cognitive problems is a significant risk that doctors should make all patients aware of so that they can make their own decision about their life and that of future children.
On 23 July, trainees from Anthony Collins Solicitors will host an ‘experience day’, which will involve various activities and presentations, with lawyers and non-lawyers from across the firm.
The Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) has launched a new scheme specifically for charities and not-for-profit organisations who want to advise EU citizens on UK settlement.
In the second part of our series on contract management pitfalls, we look at the risks and opportunities presented by payment mechanisms in construction contracts.
Under most construction contracts, the contractor takes on the ground conditions risk. However, a recent case has demonstrated that the risk can fall on the employer.
The UK Government has been consulting on how it should promote social value in its procurements. Here is our response that we submitted to the consultation...
The Tenant Fees Act 2019 came into force on 1 June 2019.
A recent case in the Court of Appeal will no doubt bring a sigh of relief for employers, but a corresponding sigh of disappointment may be uttered for equality and gender balance in the workplace.
This briefing assists response to the consultation paper by outlining the consultation questions, providing some background information and prompting some thoughts and potential answers.
A report published on 29 May by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has found that since 2009-10, local government spending on services has fallen on average by 21% in real terms.
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