A new case is scheduled to appear before the Supreme Court that could easily become one of those famous landmark cases you read about. It’s certainly controversial enough. The case in question involves vaccine safety.
Since Congress established a no-fault system in 1986 to protect children and others who suffered negative consequences from vaccines, the question has lingered if the same law should protect vaccine manufacturers from product liability lawsuits. The reason the law was passed was an attempt to find a balance between the necessities of caring for those injured as well as the need to protect the manufacturers from undue lawsuits.
Anytime these claims arise, they usually go through a legal system known as “vaccine court.” This system allows that anyone injured because of a vaccine can be compensated. The award can be rejected by that person, or in the case of a child by their parents, and they can sue the manufacturer of the vaccine. However, doing so requires facing monumental legal hurdles put in place to discourage such lawsuits.
Safety negligence is the heart of the case.
The scheduled case involves an 18-year-old woman who has suffered seizures since she was 6 months old. This occurred after receiving a DTP vaccine – the vaccination for diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough. She subsequently struggled with developmental problems.
At the heart of the lawsuit is the claim that the manufacturer of the vaccine, now a part of Pfizer, was aware that at that time there was a safer version of the DTP vaccine but they didn’t produce or supply it. The manufacturer denied the claim.
Initially, the young woman’s claim was rejected because one month prior to the hearing date her specific injuries were removed from the list of those that qualify for monetary compensation. As a result her parents have filed a suit against Wyeth, a unit of Pfizer.
What this could mean for autism patients.
Though the case about to be heard is not about autism, with all the recent media attention surrounding the link between vaccines and the onset of autism, this lawsuit could set precedent for the hundreds of lawsuits that are currently pending . . . lawsuits that argue a link does indeed exist between childhood vaccinations and autism.
Depending on whom you listen to, there have been no scientific studies that connect the autism and vaccines. On the other hand, other experts say the links do exist. The problem has been that research that denies a connection studied just one type of vaccine or just one type of ingredient in the vaccine.This doesn’t make sense, and here’s why.
Before the age of six, young children get an incredible 48 doses of vaccines. According to an expert on the controversy between vaccines and autism, only the MMR shot has come under study to determine the association with autism. However there are 11 different types of vaccines routinely given.
Yet only one has been scrutinized.
With that in mind, it seems improbable that a concrete conclusion can be reached that vaccines are not responsible, or associated with a rise in autism.
Until recently the rate of autism was about 1 in 150. The newest statistics suggest that the rate is now 1 in 63. Something is clearly wrong.
Perhaps with the new Supreme Court hearing hundreds of lawsuits that do claim a link between autism and vaccines can move forward. Mr. James Beck, a lawyer who depends drug manufacturers states if this is the case, then “it would be economically unfeasible for anyone to make vaccines in this country.” In other words, Big Pharma would see a downward spiral in profits.
This is just sad. What about taking some of the already obscene profits and funding more research to make sure vaccines are as safe as they can possibly be? In an ideal world, safety would come before a drug manufacturer’s bottom line.