Decision in Bruesewitz case leaves families with no hope of obtaining compensation from drug makers for vaccine injuries
NIXA, Mo., Feb. 23, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ –-The National Autism Association (NAA) joins parents nationwide in calling yesterday’s Supreme Court decision in the Bruesewitz case a violation of civil rights. The outcome also 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. The vaccine was manufactured by Lederle, now owned by Wyeth.
The Bruesewitz family had initially filed a complaint in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program as required by law, but the claim was denied following years of litigation. The family has now been told by the Supreme Court that they do not have the right to sue the vaccine manufacturer to receive justice or compensation for the health care and services Hannah will need for the rest of her life.
“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,” said parent and NAA board chair Lori McIlwain. “No other industry enjoys such complete protection from liability for harm caused to people injured by their products.”
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. This program was originally designed to provide quick, non-adversarial compensation for care to those suffering injuries from mandated vaccines, while giving claimants the opportunity to opt out into civil court. Yet the program has since only served to provide unprecedented protection to vaccine makers. Unencumbered by litigation, drug companies now had practically unfettered influence upon government vaccine program decision-makers, ensuring their vaccines were given to every child in America.