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I'm Riz Lateef.
BBC London has learned
that there are fears a powerful drug
to treat epilepsy could harm
families for generations.
Sodium Valproate has been used
to treat epilepsy since the 1970s.
But thousands of pregnant women say
they weren't warned of the risks
of severe birth defects,
including brain damage
and spina bifida.
Tarah Welsh has this special report.
You're going to swallow it.
I know, it's horrible.
Bridget is 19, but she is cared
for at home by her mum, Karen.
When pregnant, she was
prescribed a high dosage
of the drug sodium valproate.
She has epilepsy and the pills
were meant to control the seizures,
but the powerful chemicals that
protected her health
damaged her daughter's.
I popped these tablets
into my system, six months
down the line, and turned
round and say to me...
What do you want to do?
You want to have an abortion, you
are carrying a spina-bifida baby.
Like many other women,
Karen had no idea it was linked
to her medication.
Now 20,000 children
in the UK are believed
to have foetal valproate syndrome.
These children have an increased
risk of cleft incleft palate
and they are more prone to spina
bifida, or other defects.
The risk of taking the drug
in pregnancy have been known
since the '70s.
The Government regulates
is given to patients and it
chose not to reveal this.
But in a statement, it told
us that at the time,
according to clinical practise,
it was for the doctor to decide how
much information a patient was given
about their medicine.
Since then, the need for patients
to be fully informed
about their medication has been
underpinned by legislation.
Yet many women say they still aren't
aware of the risks,
particularly alarming in light
of new findings.
While researching this film,
we spoke to several
families who suspect
sodium valproate is somehow not just
harming their children,
but their guardian children too.
Until now, those suspicions have not
been deemed credible.
But we have got the results
of a major project in South Korea
which supports the idea
that the drug can harm
The study found autistic-like
behaviour in the grandchildren
and great grandchildren of mice that
were injected with sodium
valproate while pregnant.
That was the first bit
of evidence that we had,
that this could be carried on.
This is something now that needs to
be looked at as quickly as possible
to give families reassurance.
Three generations of one family.
They believe the drug
has affected them all.
Sue was prescribed it decades ago,
her daughters have the syndrome.
Although they didn't take
the drug in pregnancy
they believe their children have
inherited the condition.
I do think my grandkids have
been affected by it.
I have had my worry
with my kids growing up.
I have it again with my grandkids,
how long is it going to go on for?
It is not fair, it is not
fair, it is so wrong.
So many people's lives have been
affected and ruined.
Campaigners want the Government to
pay compensation, and they believe
this new evidence makes their case
for support even stronger.
We are in a good dialogue,
the Minister appears to have taken
this very seriously,
is willing to engage with us,
he appears to be completely
conscious of the need to stop
this scandal continuing.
But it could be too
late for Bridget.
is deteriorating and she could have
only months left -
after a life of suffering, caused
by something that was supposed
to keep her mother alive.
Jim Wheble has got more on this.
And just to clarify,
this is one study?
That's right, but the authors
of this report believe that showing
that the condition can be passed
on through generations of mice,
it can give us some kind
of clue the same thing
is happening to humans.
lots more research needs to be done,
What can these families expect in
terms of compensation and support?
If we look at different parts of the
world like France, the Government
and supporting families in the legal
action and have set aside millions
of pounds in compensation. Here, it
was slightly different. In 2010,
families took out a legal case
against the drugs company who make
this drug and they had to drop their
case. Faced with the prospect of
having to pay the drug companies
legal bills. They struck a deal and
they signed a letter saying they
would never sing again. As we heard
in the report, there have been
positive conversations between the
Department of Health and campaign is
looking for a public inquiry. What
that will result in, we do not know
yet. One other thing worth
mentioning is that if you are in
this situation, don't just stop
taking your drugs, consult a doctor
before you take any action like
Thanks very much.
The Metropolitan Police has issued
new guidance to its officers
surrounding searching individuals,
suspected of placing
packages in their mouths.
The advice follows the death
of Rashan Charles, who died
after being apprehended by police
in a shop in East London last year.
Fashion is big business,
with London at the centre
of an industry worth around
£28 billion to the UK economy.
But one model has spoken to this
programme about a darker side behind
the beautiful images,
and why she wants better
regulation to protect those
working in the industry -
as Victoria Cook reports.
Dunja Knezevic started
modelling succesfully at 17.
She was excited about the future.
At 19, that all changed.
Dunja was raped by someone
high up in the industry.
Everybody told me
to shut up about it.
All the friends, fellow models,
agencies, they didn't
even want to look at me.
They didn't want to acknowledge
that that had happened.
Told me not to talk about it,
and to just move on, because it
would only be detrimental to me.
It wasn't until later that Dunja
realised she wasn't alone.
Other models were sharing
So, against fierce opposition
from the industry, she started
the first models' trade union.
Everybody kept saying to me -
and especially models -
you should just leave.
Why are you even sticking around?
I said, no, I love the fashion
industry, I love fashion.
So that is why I am sticking around.
Ten years later...
And models are under the union
Despite that, it says more needs
to be done to protect workers.
When you are, in that that
environment, models often feel
like their voice is not welcome.
It's the last voice anybody
would want to hear on a shoot.
That has to change.
We want to see a culture where there
aren't bystanders any more.
With recent allegation of sexual
exploitation in the media,
the industry is under a spotlight.
Questions are being asked as to how
safe models are at work.
Some high-profile agencies
in the capital have signed up
to a code of standards.
I think it is difficult for a model
to say no on a shoot.
The model doesn't have to make a big
scene, they tell us,
and if we are not happy
with the situation, we deal with it.
And if that client is trying to get
them to do something without it
having been approved by us,
then they are the ones
in the wrong, abd if they say
they won't want to work with that
model, maybe we won't
work with them.
There are plenty of agencies that
don't take that approach.
The industry is largely unregulated.
Anyone can set up a modelling
agency, so there are
calls for the Government
to step in and introduce stricter
rules to keep models safe.
The Imperial War Museum has teamed
up with the Oscar-winning director
behind the Lord of the Rings trilogy
- to use latest technology
to restore original archive footage
of the First World War.
Grainy and faded images
are enhanced to bring clarity
to the pictures from a century ago.
Each frame will eventually be
coloured - the end product -
a short film to be shown
in London this autumn.
We're making a film that...
that shows this incredible footage,
which the faces of the men
just jump out of you.
just jump out at you.
It's the faces, it's the people that
come to life in this film.
It's the human beings that
were actually there,
that were thrust into this
extraordinary situation, that define
the lives, in many cases.
I'll say goodnight.
And it's over to Stav for a check
on this week's weather.
It is going to be very mild. And it
looks like it will be unsettled with
it. Outbreaks of rain, and very
windy. The middle part of the week.
Towards the end of the week, it
turns cooler again before becoming
milder into the weekend. Tonight is
a very mild night. A lot of dry
weather to begin with, but rain is
waiting out West which moves during
the course of tomorrow morning. It
should ease away. Some of the rain
could be happy for a time. Short
lived. Any brightness will be very
mild. We could see 14 Celsius.
Compared to what we have seen,
recently, that feels quite
different. But the winds will be
strong. They get stronger towards
Wednesday. This area of low pressure
moves through and it will be more
severe across the North and West,
bringing heavy rain and very strong
winds. It starts fine and wild and
windy, and the winds pick up as the
cold front moves through. It could
linger into the evening. 12, 13
degrees, but cooler air waiting
behind it. And that arrives across
our patch during Thursday. Around
nine, 10 degrees. Sunshine in the
morning and showers from the North
West. Friday is dry, with sunshine,
and even cooler with north-westerly
winds. But it is turning milder
again into the weekend. But