A mother in France, Melanie S., has filed a legal complaint for endangering life after suspecting that she was exposed to airborne emissions from Sanofi’s Depakine epilepsy drug plant, according to Le Monde newspaper. Although she has never used the drug, Melanie has worked in an office located about 50 meters from the plant since 2011. Her two children, born in 2014 and 2016, have shown neuro-developmental disorders similar to those observed in children whose mothers took Depakine during pregnancy.
The complaint, filed on November 15, is against unknown individuals associated with emissions from the Sanofi plant. Sanofi, a pharmaceutical company, stated that it was not aware of the complaint, and the judicial authorities were not immediately available for comment.
Sanofi mentioned in an email to Reuters that the production process of sodium valproate at the Mourenx plant used to generate airborne emissions, but there was no specific threshold until April 2018. However, since that date, the Mourenx site has been operating in compliance with regulations to produce a necessary treatment for many patients. Sanofi also pointed out that an independent company specializing in health and environmental impact research reviewed emissions related to the sodium valproate production process in 2017 and did not find any specific risks associated with them.
In a separate case, a French court ordered Sanofi to pay over 400,000 euros ($436,280.00) in damages to a family in May 2022. Their child had suffered from a form of autism caused by Sanofi’s epilepsy drug Valproate, sold under the name Depakine in France. The court held the drugmaker responsible for failing to inform about known side effects. French health authorities estimate that between 2,150 and 4,100 children experienced deformities, and up to 30,400 had neuro-developmental defects due to the drug.
Sanofi was previously placed under formal investigation in 2020 on charges of manslaughter, but the company denied the charges and stated its intention to challenge the investigation’s findings.
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