A HUDDERSFIELD boy is at the centre of a test case centring on patients who say they have been harmed by the anti-epilepsy drug Vigabatrin.
Gabriel Pollock, who has launched a legal action through his father, Crawford Pollock, of East Street, Lindley, is the second local person who believes they have been adversely affected by the drug, also known as Sabril.
The Examiner earlier revealed the plight of Mrs Gail Wade, 53, of Aspley.
She is now registered blind after taking Vigabatrin since 1997 to control epilepsy.
The sufferers are suing makers Aventis Pharma for damages of more than £100,000 each.
Writs have been issued at the High Court in London by Plymouth-based solicitors Wolferstans.
They say the drug is defective and accuse the makers of negligence and breach of contract.
Vigabatrin was launched in the UK in 1989 as the first new anti-epilepsy drug to come on the market since the 1970s.
A study in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry says the drug is an effective way to treat epilepsy.
But the study also indicates that it can lead to `tunnel vision' and other eyesight abnormalities in about 40% of people taking the drug.
World-wide, around 140,000 people are believed to have been prescribed the drug.
Solicitors calculate that the number of UK claimants could run into thousands.
The High Court has imposed a cut-off date of September 17 for claims to be launched.
It is anticipated it will take about two years before the case gets to court.
A spokesman for Aventis Pharma said: "We are defending the claims rigorously. Sabril is licensed in the UK and 61 other countries.
"It is an effective treatment for epilepsy, particularly in resistant cases, where other medicines are ineffective. It enables severe epilepsy sufferers to have a quality of life that would not otherwise be possible.
"Sabril has been continually assessed by the scientific body of the European Medicines Evaluation Agency, which endorses its positive risk/benefit profile.
"We cannot comment on individual cases, but we are defending all the claims that have been made," the spokesman added.