Drug case axe angers father

Robert Herbert, 10 year old from Walton. Suffers from Global Developmental Delay. Pictured with his father, Andrew.'w4360a105
Robert Herbert, 10 year old from Walton. Suffers from Global Developmental Delay. Pictured with his father, Andrew.'w4360a105

FUNDING cuts have left a father feeling helpless to fight a drug company he blames for his son’s birth defects.

Ten-year-old Robert Herbert was born with fetal anti-convulsant syndrome (FACS) and has grown up with a range of learning difficulties and physical abnormalities.

Specialists told Robert’s parents that an anti-epilepsy drug called Epilim his mother Helen was taking during pregnancy could have caused the condition.

But a six-year legal battle for compensation from pharmaceutical firm Sanofi-Aventis is set to be dropped after the Legal Services Commission (LSC) announced they were pulling the plug on funding.

Dad Andrew Herbert, of Oakenshaw Lane, Walton, said: “We’re really upset but there’s nothing we can do about this.

“How can anyone be expected to fight a multi-billion pound company without help?”

Mr Herbert said the couple were not informed of the risks associated with Epilim and pregnancy.

And it has left Robert, who goes to Kingsland School, on Aberford Road, unable to talk or walk properly and with severe learning difficulties and facial disfigurements.

Mr Herbert said: “Robert can only babble and we don’t know what he understands, we can only guess.

“We were told by a specialist that Epilim was the reason for Robert’s problems, and he could have been called as an expert witness.”

A case began in 2005 on behalf of around 100 children whose mothers say they suffered birth defects because of using the drug.

But the LSC, which has already spent more than £3m on the case, said it was no longer prepared to fund it as it was not confident enough that it could be won.