French court backs class action against Sanofi over Depakine drug

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of Sanofi is seen at the company’s research and production centre in Vitry-sur-Seine, France, August 6, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

PARIS (Reuters) – A French court ruled on Wednesday that families of victims of Depakine, an epilepsy drug that caused birth defects and learning difficulties when taken during pregnancy, could join a class action lawsuit against drugmaker Sanofi (NASDAQ:), France Info radio reported, quoting news agency AFP.

Victims association APESAC, which represents 7,500 families, launched the class action in September 2021 against Sanofi, which was placed under formal investigation in 2020 on charges of manslaughter over Depakine.

Sanofi denied the charges at the time and said it would challenge the merits of the investigation.

The court, the Tribunal Judiciaire de Paris, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Sanofi was not immediately available for comment. Its shares were up 0.6% at 88.67 at 1035 GMT, compared with a 0.5% rise on France’s benchmark .

French health authorities have estimated Depakine was responsible for deformities in between 2,150 and 4,100 children and neuro-developmental defects in up to 30,400 children.

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