The Dépakine affair: Communicating reproductive risk in post-thalidomide France

  • Olszynko-Gryn, Jesse (Principal Investigator)

Project: Research Fellowship

Project Details


Today, Dépakine is an embattled drug. Sanofi, the manufacturer, is facing a class action in France, and a Paris court recently held the company liable for failing in its duty of care. This project is the first to historically investigate Dépakine (sodium valproate), an anti-convulsant drug that, if taken in pregnancy, also causes neurodevelopmental impairments. It focuses on the crucial role played in Lyon in the 1970s by REMERA (Registre des Malformations en Rhône-Alpes) in evidencing fetal harm. Examining Dépakine situates France, and more specifically Lyon, in the historical understanding of persistent tensions between reproductive rights and disability rights in contemporary Europe. By collaborating with patients (women with epilepsy who took Dépakine while pregnant), the project also contributes to the development of a more inclusive mode of historical research within science studies. Beyond compensation and justice for the families, at stake are fundamental issues regarding the production and communication of biomedical knowledge about reproductive risk in the post-thalidomide world.
Effective start/end date8/09/2231/05/23


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