Supreme Court To Hear Vaccine Lawsuits Case Tomorrow
    By Hank Campbell | October 11th 2010 07:21 PM | 3 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    Since the 1980s, when lawsuits nearly drove drug companies out of business, a special 'Vaccine Court' has been the route parents of children have to go if they suspect a vaccine was involved in their child's situation.

    Is there truly due process if a plaintiff must go through a no-fault, no-jury court before being allowed to go to court?   Some parts of American society are exempt from civilian courts, such as the military but does the Constitution protect drug companies the same way?
    "We very much wanted to make sure vaccine manufacturers are out of the line of lawsuits," said Dr. O. Marion Burton, president of the AAP. "Otherwise, we end up with nobody producing vaccines, and nobody making new vaccines."
    If the goal of the American Academy of Pediatrics is to protect pharmaceutical companies rather than children, we already have an alarm bell.    If the Supreme Court uses social engineering reasoning in its case, it will be rather bad law, but that follows five decades of fairly bad law so the world won't end.

    Vioxx is the obvious example where lawsuits brought enough pressure and enough studies to get a dangerous drug pulled.   What did Merck immediately start to promote after they lost $5 billion in the Vioxx settlement?   Gardasil, the HPV vaccine.

    Full discussion of the implications and background on Livescience.

    Comments

    Yes, due process is due process. Making vaccine court a part of due process is not unconstitutional.

    Putting people who want to sue over vaccines through the vaccine court first is not an onerous impediment. Plaintiffs legal costs are paid by the vaccine court. The standard for winning a case in vaccine court is “more likely than not”. The standard in civil court is “the preponderance of the evidence”.

    Plaintiffs can still sue in civil court, they are unlikely to prevail because they have to prove causation to a higher standard in civil court than in vaccine court, and their legal fees are not paid so they have a downside they don't have in vaccine court.

    I understand that plaintiff's lawyers would rather sue in civil court in front of a jury that doesn't understand the science and that can be manipulated emotionally instead of in front of Special masters who do understand the science and are much harder to manipulate.

    I understand that plaintiff's lawyers would rather exert “legal pressure” on deep pocketed Big Pharma through discovery, adverse publicity, a blizzard of paper work, and the crap-shoot of a sympathetic jury for a child with real health problems and so induce them to settle as a business decision, rather than have the case decided on the merits.

    The expected outcome is that Big Pharma will avoid potential liability by deciding to not produce vaccines. Then we go back to endemic diseases and thousands of deaths per year.

    Hank
    The expected outcome is that Big Pharma will avoid potential liability by deciding to not produce vaccines. Then we go back to endemic diseases and thousands of deaths per year.
    That's what I mean about social engineering - it is not the place of the Supreme Court though, regrettably, they have done that often during my lifetime.

    If we start to suppress the freedoms of some in order to protect the interests of a corporate segment with the second order effect of perhaps protecting society, that is a pretty weird place to be in the future.
    Hank
    Supreme Court justices admitted Tuesday they were confused by a 1986 law that seeks to make sure that vaccine makers do not exit the business for fear of lawsuits while still ensuring that children hurt by vaccines are compensated.

    What is not at issue is that 18-year-old Hannah Bruesewitz is disabled, requiring special care for life.  The justices' questions on the convoluted wording of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986.

    Of course, this is the downside to legislation designed to prop up a business segment and bypasses the courts to insure it.