The deputies voted this Monday evening at first reading an amendment to
"encourage Sanofi to participate in the compensation"
of the victims of the health scandal of the antiepileptic Depakine, by raising the penalties that could be imposed on the pharmaceutical laboratory or its insurer.
Read also: Dépakine: Sanofi is indicted
LR rapporteur Véronique Louwagie, author of this amendment, believes that
"the compensation system for victims of Depakine works poorly, even very poorly, due in particular to the refusal of the Sanofi laboratory to participate in its operation"
An amicable compensation scheme for victims was put in place in 2017 with the National Office for Compensation for Medical Accidents (Oniam).
Sanofi having refused to formulate offers of compensation, it is Oniam which intervenes in substitution to compensate the victims when the responsibility of the laboratory is established, before demanding in court the reimbursement of the sums paid.
"In the event of litigation initiated by a victim or by Oniam, the judge may in certain circumstances impose a penalty on the legal person responsible for the damage or on its insurer",
explained Véronique Louwagie.
His amendment proposes to raise
"the percentage of the maximum penalty that can be imposed by the judge"
from 30 to 50% of the compensation allocated by Oniam.
The measure, adopted at first reading during the review of the 2021 budget, received support from different sides, from LREM to LFI.
The deputy François Ruffin (LFI) judged that
"the attitude of Sanofi in this affair really exceeds all limits"
and saw in the amendment
"a first sign"
to bring the laboratory
"to the negotiating table"
High risk of birth defects
had revealed in early August the indictment of Sanofi for
in this case.
The investigation was initiated by families of victims accusing the pharmaceutical group of having delayed in informing of the risks of the drug for pregnant women.
The molecule in question, sodium valproate, has been marketed since 1967 under the brands Dépakine (for epilepsy patients) and Dépakote (for bipolar patients), as well as under generic brands.
It is prescribed for people with bipolar disorder, but has a high risk of birth defects in the fetus if taken by a pregnant woman.
Malformations, autism, ENT disorders: the effects can be devastating for some children who have been exposed in utero.
“Sanofi Aventis France has complied with its information obligations and disputes the merits of these lawsuits,”
the group reacted in August.
He indicated that he had
"seized the investigation chamber in order to contest his indictment"
and put forward the fact that
"all of these elements in no way prejudge the responsibility of the laboratory"