You likely didn’t know that the Japanese government has concerns that two popular HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccines, Merck’s Gardasil and GlaxoSmithKline ‘s Cervarix, can cause very severe side-effects including long-term pain and numbness, infertility, and paralysis. If the Japanese can ultimately show that the vaccine is dangerous, what does that mean for litigation in the Untied States where millions of young girls have received the shot? It will not be the litigation avalanche that you suspect.
Chances are that you might not be familiar with the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) of 1986 which created the Office of Special Masters of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims otherwise known as the “Vaccine court.” In essence, the Vaccine court was created to shield vaccine manufacturers from federal and state court litigation.
While the Vaccine court has, on occasion, made sizeable awards to children injured from vaccines, the structure of the court is “a no-fault compensation scheme” which gives cover for Big Pharma to disclaim that theirs vaccines are actually dangerous.
As for Gardasil, the Vaccine court has already paid out almost $6 million in claims concerning that drug (including two claims which resulted in death). The Vaccine court has also awarded $20 million in cases for vaccine-induced autism – something the drug giants tell us is just a medical fairytale. Likewise, the court has handed out numerous awards for flu shots that have caused Guillain-Barre Syndrome and even death.
In 2011, the Supreme Court upheld the Vaccine court system when challenged, holding that it “reflects a sensible choice to leave complex epidemiological judgments about vaccine design to the FDA and the National Vaccine Program rather than juries.” Put another way, “we think juries are too stupid to figure out if vaccines are really injuring or killing kids.”
Rather than the protection of a Vaccine court, which does little to incentivize the creation of the safest vaccines possible, we need vaccines to be subject to the same jury trial scrutiny that other scientific and medical cases are.