The National Autism Association responded firmly in regards to Bruesewitz v. Wyeth, in which the parents of Hannah Bruesewitz sued the Pfizer company, saying that its DTP vaccine caused her seizure disorder in 1992, and that the company knew it could produce a safer shot but chose not to. The Bruesewitzes took their claims to vaccine court first, but were denied, so they sued. They also recently lost this case in the Supreme Court.
National Autism Association (NAA) board chair Lori McIlwain stated:
"This ruling is a crushing blow not only to families struggling to provide care for their vaccine-injured children, but also to the rights of every US citizen. No other industry enjoys such complete protection from liability for harm caused to people injured by their products."
The 1986 law, designed to make sure vaccine makers didn't abandon the market, set up a compensation system for any vaccine related injuries precisely to protect companies from court claims.
The NAA feels the Bruesewitz outcome removes any remaining incentive for vaccine manufacturers to make their product as safe as possible. The Bruesewitz family sought compensation for their daughter Hannah who developed a lifelong seizure disorder following a DTP vaccine she received as an infant in 1992.
DTP vaccine confers immunity to diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. The vaccine used in the United States is actually multiple diphtheria and tetanus toxoids combined with acellular pertussis (DTaP). The original vaccine, which as of 2004 was still used in other parts of the world, contains whole cells of Bordetella pertussis, the organism that causes pertussis, better known as whooping cough . The whole cell vaccine is more likely to cause adverse effects and does not provide any greater immunity.
The right to sue drug companies directly for injuries caused by vaccines was first hindered in 1986 when the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) took effect for children born after October 1988.
The program was established in response to a threat to the vaccine supply due to a 1980s scare over the DTP vaccine. Despite the belief of most public health officials that claims of side effects were unfounded, large jury awards had been given to some plaintiffs, most DTP vaccine makers had ceased production, and officials feared the loss of herd immunity.
Some parents of children with autism spectrum disorders have attributed the disorders' onset to vaccines, often citing the mercury-based preservative thiomersal as the cause, and have demanded compensation from vaccine makers. However, the mainstream medical and scientific communities have consistently found no link between routine childhood vaccines and autism. The program has served to provide unprecedented protection to vaccine makers.
Problems with the NVICP became apparent, with many critics now believing it is a completely broken system that allows no discovery phase, and evidence pertinent to cases is made inaccessible.
Ms. McIlwain continues:
"For years now, vaccine makers have had very little incentive to ensure their products were as safe as possible. With yesterday's decision, the Supreme Court has rendered vaccine makers completely untouchable: they will not be held accountable for debilitating injury and death from use of their vaccines. If poorly-made tires cause injuries and deaths to consumers, victims have a right to obtain compensation from the manufacturer. But there are no consequences for drug companies, no matter how unsafe their vaccines are or how many injuries and deaths they cause. Americans now know that if they become injured by a vaccine, they are completely on their own with no way to receive compensation for care from vaccine makers."
Source: National Autism Association
Written by Sy Kraft, B.A.