Legal Immunity Set For Swine Flu Vaccine Makers
By Mike Stobbe | clickondetroit.com
In Past, Thousands Filed Claims Contending They Suffered Side Effects
The last time the government embarked on a major vaccine campaign against a new swine flu, thousands filed claims contending they suffered side effects from the shots. This time, the government has already taken steps to head that off.
Vaccine makers and federal officials will be immune from lawsuits that result from any new swine flu vaccine, under a document signed by Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, government health officials said Friday.
Since the 1980s, the government has protected vaccine makers against lawsuits over the use of childhood vaccines. Instead, a federal court handles claims and decides who will be paid from a special fund.
The document signed by Sebelius last month grants immunity to those making a swine flu vaccine, under the provisions of a 2006 law for public health emergencies. It allows for a compensation fund, if needed.
The government takes such steps to encourage drug companies to make vaccines, and it's worked. Federal officials have contracted with five manufacturers to make a swine flu vaccine. First identified in April, swine flu has so far caused about 263 deaths, according to numbers released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday.
The CDC said more than 40,000 Americans have had confirmed or probable cases, but those are people who sought health care. It's likely that more than 1 million Americans have been sickened by the flu, many with mild cases.
The virus hits younger people harder that seasonal flu, but so far hasn't been much more deadly than the strains seen every fall and winter. But health officials believe the virus could mutate to a more dangerous form, or at least contribute to a potentially heavier flu season than usual.
"We do expect there to be an increase in influenza this fall," with a bump in cases perhaps beginning earlier than normal, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration approved the regular winter flu vaccine, a final step before shipments to clinics and other vaccination sites could begin.
The last time the government faced a new swine flu virus was in 1976. Cases of swine flu in soldiers at Fort Dix, N.J., including one death, made health officials worried they might be facing a deadly pandemic like the one that killed millions around the world in 1918 and 1919.
Federal officials vaccinated 40 million Americans during a national campaign. A pandemic never materialized, but thousands who got the shots filed injury claims, saying they suffered a paralyzing condition called Guillain-Barre Syndrome or other side effects.
"The government paid out quite a bit of money," said Stephen Sugarman, a law professor who specializes in product liability at the University of California at Berkeley.
Vaccines aren't as profitable as other drugs for manufacturers, and without protection against lawsuits "they're saying, 'Do we need this?'" Sugarman said.
The move to protect makers of a swine flu didn't go over well with Paul Pennock, a prominent New York plaintiffs attorney on medical liability cases. The government will likely call on millions of Americans to get the vaccinations to prevent the disease from spreading, he noted.
"If you're going to ask people to do this for the common good, then let's make sure for the common good that these people will be taken care of if something goes wrong," Pennock said.
AP Medical Writer Lauran Neergaard contributed to this report from Washington.
Glaxo’s vaccine characterised by regulators as EU and USA biodefense stockpile drug - EU666 & US666
Baxter Files Swine Flu Vaccine Patent A Year Ahead Of Outbreak
1976 Swine Flu Propaganda (Video)
Bird Flu Hoax (Video)
WHO: Swine flu pandemic has begun, 1st in 41 years
First batch of swine flu vaccine produced - Novartis AG announcement comes day after WHO declares pandemic
Latest News from our Front Page
Russia warns of 'new world war' starting in Syria
Foreign and defence ministers of the leading international states are meeting in Munich and Brussels following the collapse of the latest round of peace talks
Foreign and defence ministers of the leading international states backing different factions in the war-torn country met in separate meetings in Munich and Brussels following the collapse of the latest round of peace talks.
Both Russia and ...
N.J. troopers union blasts Beyonce's Super Bowl halftime show as 'anti-police'
New Jersey's largest state troopers union has lambasted pop star Beyonce's Super Bowl halftime show, invoking the name of a trooper slain by a former member of the Black Panther party and expressing "shock and disgust" at the performance.
Calling the display - which featured dancers wearing black berets reminiscent of those worn by the Black Panthers — "blatantly anti-police," State ...
Donald Trump Ted Cruz Goldman Sachs and the Zionist Oligarchs
Former Republican Member of the House of Representatives-LA Dr. David Duke discusses Donald Trump, The Zionist control over the candidates of both parties for President of the United States and the possibility that Donald Trump could be the first President in our lifetimes who puts America First!
'A quarter of a million' UK students now using sugar daddies, according to app
Apps have changed the way we date. Meeting someone new is as easy as swiping right. Rick Kelsey meets the power-users relying on apps to find the one, and considers the negative effects of seeking love on your smartphone.
A leading sugar daddy app says it now has almost a quarter of a million UK students on its books.
Seeking Arrangement ...
African "Refugees" sexually harass 75 Year old German Grandmother, "Integrated" Muslims interrupt
A 75 year old woman in Hamburg tells her story of how she was sexually harassed by African migrants to a journalist as suddenly "integrated" Muslims rudely interrupt her, insist that she insults Islam, claim they rebuilt Germany and consequently deny any crimes against Christians by Muslims. While on the Subway train, an African migrant showed the old woman pictures ...
|More News » |