Dépakine: Sanofi refuses to contribute to the compensation of the victims
A hard blow to victims of Dépakine: The Sanofi laboratory, which markets the treatment, has refused to take part in the victims' compensation fund. According to the company, only the state is responsible for this healthcare scandal. Sanofi "cannot respond" to the first compensation notices sent by the National Office for Compensation for Medical Accidents (Oniam), according to a statement by the French pharmaceutical giant made public on January 16.
The lab said it notified authorities
The laboratory defends itself by stating, in particular, that it has "informed the authorities in all transparency" about the risks of Depakine for pregnant women, as scientific knowledge advances. Since the end of the 80s, the health authorities have even repeatedly "rejected Sanofi's requests, which aimed, based on the evolution of scientific knowledge, to mention in the package insert the risks to the fetus which could be related to the prescription of this medicine as part of a pregnancy". A statement that Sanofi could not make without the authorities, whose approval is essential to change the information on a drug.
Since 1967, Depakine and its derivatives they caused severe birth defects in between 2.150 and 4.100 babies, according to a 2017 assessment by the French Medicines and Health Insurance Agency. Taking into account children with developmental delays (autistic, psychomotor disorders, etc.), there could be 14.000 victims, according to epidemiologist Catherine Hill. Last year, Health Minister Agnès Buzyn repeatedly stated that the state would seek out Sanofi to help compensate victims.
"Oniam has retained the responsibility of Sanofi up to 70%"
“This lab location was predictable but still scandalous”
Contrary to what Sanofi claims, the judicial proceedings and Oniam converge to hold the responsibility of the laboratory", reacted Charles Joseph-Oudin, lawyer of Apesac, Vicakine Victims Association. In its first compensation communications, "Oniam maintained the State's liability up to 30% and that of Sanofi up to 70%," he added.
But Sanofi's refusal to pay won't stop Oniam from treating victims. This can really grab the justice to force the hand to the laboratory. At the same time as Oniam's requests, Sanofi faces several civil requests from the families of the victims. In one such proceeding before the Orléans Court of Appeal at the end of 2017, the group was ordered to pay the plaintiffs nearly 3 million euros. Sanofi appealed on legal grounds.