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Vigabatrin court case set for hearing

8 January, 2004

The cases of people
taking legal action as a result of damaged
eyesight which
they claim
was caused by the anti-epileptic drug vigabatrin
(Sabril) is due to be heard this month.

Tim Roper, from Wolferstans solicitors
in Plymouth, told Epilepsy Action that proceedings have been issued
and there will be a preliminary hearing
later this month. He called for any potential new claimants who had developed
a visual field problem as a result of vigabatrin to contact him as it
was likely that at the forthcoming hearing the judge would order a cut-off
date for new claimants to join the action.

In October 2002 Aventis
Pharma
, the manufacturer of Sabril, the brand
of vigabatrin available in the UK, issued a statement saying it intends
to defend any lawsuit against the product.

They added:

"In cooperation
with the European Commission, the company modified the summary of product
characteristics regarding warnings to potential
development of field disorders and the need for systematic visual field
disorder screening of patients upon starting vigabatrin and at regular
intervals thereafter."

Research undertaken
at the Walton
Centre in Liverpool suggests that
vigabatrin can cause eye problems in over 40 per cent of those who are
prescribed it.