Vaccine Damage Compensation

The following interview with Leigh O’Dell, a practising attorney and key member of the trial team against Merck & Co. for Vioxx, discusses here, how it is very difficult to get vaccine damage compensation, because “The Vaccine Compensation Act” protects the Pharmaceutical Industry from any damage claims caused by vaccines.


Transcription of video:

“The reason why vaccines are different from say, a drug, a prescription drug, is there is an act, it’s called “The Vaccine Compensation Act”…..and it was enacted, I believe, in the 1980s. And the purpose of the act was to limit in a very significant way, the number, or the manner in which you could bring a claim against a pharmaceutical company as a result of an adverse event associated with a vaccine.

So for example, let’s use Vioxx, because we talked about Vioxx a bit.

If you took Vioxx and you had a heart attack, you could bring a claim in your local state court potentially, or the local federal court, and be actively litigating that claim against, directly against Merck, in that court, to prove that you were damaged by the drug and to prove, you know, exactly how you’d been injured;  you know, exactly what your long-term effects might be, injury, and so forth. But that was a direct exchange between the individual who’s injured and the pharmaceutical company itself.

In a vaccine situation, the patient who’s been injured, does not have the right to bring a case against Merck directly, in an initial manner.  Under the vaccine compensation act, they have to file a claim in the Federal Court of claims in Washington DC, and actually the other party is the US government, the Department of Justice.

And so Merck, in some measure, every measure at that point, doesn’t have any skin in the game, they have no risk; they have nothing. The government advocates the safety of the vaccine and the individual has a limited mechanism in which they can prove that the vaccine was the cause of their particular injury.


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