Report exploring the impacts of some anti-seizure medicines in pregnancy attracts strong support at parliamentary launch
Earlier this week we held a formal launch event in Westminster for our report exploring the lifetime costs of disabilities caused by exposure to epilepsy medications during pregnancy.
A wide-ranging audience of cross-party MPs, patient advocates, academics, media, Epilepsy Society supporters and representatives from charities and industry attended the House of Commons’ Thames Pavilion to mark the publication of the report from the Office of Health Economics - Individual, Health System, and Societal Impacts of Anti-seizure Medicine Use During Pregnancy.
We commissioned the report as part of our Safe Mum, Safe Baby campaign, and are calling on the Government to invest £20m in research into understanding the specific risks of different epilepsy medications in pregnancy.
Our Chief Executive Clare Pelham welcomed attendees and introduced speakers who set out the case for investment in research from scientific, economic and social standpoints. Lauren Sutton was the first speaker, giving a brave and emotional address on her experiences as a mother with epilepsy, and the challenges and fears she has faced around growing her family.
After Lauren’s speech, attendees heard from our Director of Genomics, Professor Sanjay Sisodiya, who outlined our proposal for genomic research into safer, personalised treatments for pregnant women with epilepsy. He was followed by Caroline Nokes MP, Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee and our event’s host, and the OHE’s Nadine Henderson, who gave further statistical background as the lead author of the report.
The speaker panel was completed by Dr Henrietta Hughes, England’s Patient Safety Commissioner, who talked about the work going on to offer redress to those who have been affected by anti-seizure medications in pregnancy, as well as looking to reduce the risk of future harm.
We were delighted to be joined at the event by a passionate and influential group of stakeholders and decision makers, including Mims Davies MP, Minister for Disabled People. There was a lot of positive engagement around the room and agreement that the report presents a strong economic and societal case for investment in research.