Supreme Court Ruling Abandons Vaccine-Injured Children, Threatens Vaccine Safety
Decision in Bruesewitz case leaves families with no hope of obtaining compensation from drug makers for vaccine injuries
Nixa, MO – 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 products as safe as possible. The Bruesewitz family sought compensation fortheir 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 in1986 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. Yes, the program hassince 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.
Through the years, 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. Petitioners were required to file first through the NVICP before seeking compensation directly from drug companies for vaccine injuries. Yesterday’s decision has taken away the second option altogether, giving complete immunity to the entire vaccine industry.
“For years now, vaccine makers have had very little incentive to ensure their products were as safe as possible,” said Ms. McIlwain. “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.”
While thousands of families are expressing outrage at the federal government’s broken promise of medical care following a vaccine injury, many believe that the Supreme Court decision will actually hurt the vaccine program in the long run. “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,” said Ms. McIlwain.
NAA joins advocacy organizations throughout the country in asking Congress for investigation and action to amend the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act to keep its original promise: that federal Vaccine Court was an additional non-adversarial, generous, and effective no-fault remedy--and not a substitute for traditional tort remedies--and to restore the fundamental civil right under American law for petitioners to sue industry in civil court if dissatisfied by the actions of the Vaccine Court.
For more information, please visit www.nationalautism.org and www.coalitionforvaccinesafety.org
Posted by: agen555 | March 14, 2022 at 03:39 AM
@Catie - Sorry, but go stuff it! Really? How cold and callous can you be?
If I had known the f*g risks up front and the amount of pain this would cause my child then I would have never done the vaccinations. And to add insult to injury, now no one has the right for compensation because our wonderful f*g gov't is in bed with pharma.
Sorry, I've dumped literally over $100,000 in medical treatments, doctors and therapies so far with my son and he's only 7!
Take your comments somewhere else and shove it.
Sorry for the foul language, but I can't stand it when someone says something stupid like that!
Posted by: Kevin | February 28, 2011 at 07:44 AM
While this ruling is not beneficial for families that are affected but as with any medical treatment or procedure there are always risks and benefits. The risk of injury will always be there nothing will ever be safe for everyone.
Posted by: Catie | February 27, 2011 at 01:45 PM
Sarah, I didn't mean to imply that people age 60+ are right about polio--just that there are so many of them, and that they are in such influential positions, that the view of vaccines as the Almighty Discoveries that Saved the World from Polio!! will only go away when all those people are dead/retired. We'll have more Sotomayor and less Scalia/Breyer.
For instance, my view of the current vaccine situation is influenced by the insanity of the varicella vaccine. Every kid in my class got the chicken pox, and none of us got necrotizing infections, or whatever extremely rare event is being used to push the varicella vaccine on kids today. I would bet that no one on the Court (except maybe Sotomayor and Roberts--and we all know about Roberts' conflict-of-interest) knows the CDC's recommended schedule. They hear "vaccine," and they think, "polio!" and their brains just turn off. They make "unavoidable" mean "avoidable" in a pathetic attempt to cover their ***es. It's maddening.
Posted by: Theresa O | February 26, 2011 at 05:00 PM
If our government will sell-out to big pharma, a boycott of vaccines might get National attention and perhaps hit big pharma in their pocket. If we are sold-out by our government on this issue of "safe" vaccines, then we are next in line to be put in jail for trying to protect our youth. Vaccines are not the enemy, they could "potentially" save many lives, but unless our government will actually stand up for SAFE vaccines and against pharma's greed and corruption in its ranks, we will go the way of our present day financial disaster. How can ANY industry have a license to pollute and taint any of our children and NOT be held accountable. We are consumers and as such it is our own fault, as parents, if we continue to buy the snake oil and spin the wheel of chance on the backs of our next generation.
Posted by: gary moody | February 26, 2011 at 03:15 PM
erratum in previous post about aspartame: Samuel Skinner went to work for Sidley & Austin, not what I said.
More haste, less speed....
Posted by: Carol | February 25, 2011 at 11:32 AM
What astounds me is the hypocritical nature of some autism parents who are also bloggers. Take the ever repulsive Dr. Kristina Chew for instance. She writes yet another article applauding this decision (and bashing Wakefield for the 25th time while she is at it) yet she claims in all her other writings that she is 100% liberal and all for pro choice. So how is it someone like her (and her minions) can take such an opposite stance when it comes to vaccines, vaccine damage and choice for parents not to vaccinate? I think it's the only way people like her can really get the attention they so desperately seek out. Here's a message to parents like Chew: get a life, stay out of mine and stay the hell out of my choice for my child and good luck with your own child when he is an adult and vaccine damaged even further.
Posted by: a dad | February 25, 2011 at 08:55 AM
We all need to remember, that at every juncture the system failed Hannah Bruesewitz and her parents. While the Supreme Court decision is what is before us now, it was Donna Shalala's actions during the Clinton administration that eviscerated the table of injuries which enabled the government to reject between 3 in 4 or 4 in 5 injury cases including Hannah's. Hannah Bruesewitz has the classic DPT-induced residual seizure disorder which started with in hours of being vaccinated. Perhaps this document is worth reviewing, but if you read it and the history of the DPT lot she was given, and what Wyeth knew, you better have a vomit pan nearby. http://www.criminaldefensebarassociation.com/publiced/preview/briefs/pdfs/09-10/09-152_Petitioner.pdf
On April 3, 1995, the Bruesewitzes filed a
petition in the Vaccine Court, seeking compensation
under the NCVIA for their daughter’s injuries. See
JA1. Just one month before her petition was filed,
new regulations eliminated “residual seizure disorder”
from the Vaccine Table for DTP. See Bruesewitz,
2002 WL 31965744, at *1 n.1. In December 2003,
the court dismissed the petition with prejudice after
concluding that Hannah suffered only non-Table
injuries and had not proved that the DTP vaccine
caused her injuries. Id. at *17; but cf. Andreu ex
rel. Andreu v. Secretary of HHS, 569 F.3d 1367,
1374-75 (Fed. Cir. 2009) (reversing special master’s
finding that parents failed to show causal relation....
The vaccine dose Hannah received came from a
lot associated with an unusually large number of
adverse events. By the time of her inoculation,
VAERS reported 1 death and 30 adverse events, including
8 reports of convulsions, from the lot; those
numbers later rose to 2 deaths and more than 60
adverse events (including 39 emergency room visits).
See JA202-03. Wyeth and Lederle apparently took
deliberate steps to obscure adverse events associated
with particular lots of vaccine. Internal correspondence
in the 1970s suggested that the company
report adverse events individually rather than in
a summary fashion, stating that “[w]e would not
want several cases in a summary [to] be discovered
by Plaintiff’s counsel.” JA267; see also JA252-53.
Another internal memorandum was written after
eight children in Tennessee died within one week of
receiving the DTP vaccine. See JA268-69; see also
JA252-53. It noted that, after the incident, senior
management agreed to “limit distribution of a large
number of vials from a single lot to a single state,
county or city health department.” JA268. Hannah’s
physician testified that she would not have administered
the particular vaccine dose to Hannah had she
known that it came from a lot associated with such a
large number of adverse events. See JA203.
Posted by: michael framson | February 25, 2011 at 02:09 AM
Mazda can be sued over seatbelt-related deaths....
Vaccine manufacturers are protected by our government, from the CDC all the way up to the Supreme Court, even though their products have harmed more people than Mazda's seatbelts ever will.
Maybe "Age of Autism" and autism research can seek to be sponsored by automobile manufacturers.
It is so absurd that it is almost funny. Yet, an overwhelming sadness is the mood at my house tonight. The U.S. of A. have really jeopardized their future.
Posted by: Marie-Anne Denayer, M.D. | February 24, 2011 at 09:03 PM
You're welcome Theresa...autism is a much greater threat to children than polio ever was even at it's peak in the 1950's. The autism crisis is different...Senior Scientists from EPA, NIEHS and US Davis MIND Institute testified on the record before a US Senate panel las August that environmental factors (toxins) wee involved...see webcast of hearing on the link below.
This is not an infectious disease situation like polio..this is mass poisoning.
US Senate Hearing on Autism: It's The Environment Not The Gene Pool - AoA
Subcommittee on Children’s Health hearing entitled, "State of Research on Potential Environmental Health Factors with Autism and Related Neurodevelopment Disorders." Aug 3, 2010
Paul Anastos, US EPA Testimony:
Linda Birnbaum, NIEHS testimony:
Dr. Isaac Pessah testimony, UC Davis MIND Institute
Posted by: Sarah | February 24, 2011 at 05:20 PM
Sarah, thank you for the Mazda link. It's kind of unbelievable. That's exactly how the Bruesewitz decision should have been.
Maybe when the Court is free of all the people from the polio generation (I think another AoA commenter previously mentioned how pro-all-vaccines her mom is, because she remembers the polio scare of the 1950s), then we'll get more actual law (like Sotomayor) and less policy-making. We shouldn't have to wait for that.
Posted by: Theresa O | February 24, 2011 at 04:15 PM
In my previous post I wrote about aspartame approval, Donald Rumsfeld, Ronald Reagan and the FDA. (I'm wondering if this is the watershed moment when the FDA became merely a rubber stamp for big corporations.)
But it's even worse because I forgot to mention that the Searle's safety studies were so blatantly fixed that the matter was referred to the U.S. Attorney for possible prosecution. During the grand jury hearings, Searle's law firm, Sidney & Austin, started courting the U.S. Attorney, Samuel Skinner. Skinner stalled the investigation and went to work for Sidney & Austin.
It appears to be the case that it was after aspartame (which caused aggressive brain tumors in mice) was approved for soft drinks that brain cancer started booming in the American population.
Posted by: Carol | February 24, 2011 at 03:41 PM
1. Hold FDA Officials, Big Pharma Companies, Executives
Legally Responsible For Damage Caused By Vaccines
More information here:
Posted by: AutismGrandma | February 24, 2011 at 12:23 PM
meanwhile, the Supreme court just voted in favor families allowing them to sue Mazda in seat bealt deaths...it all comes down to who you know I guess
Court: Family can sue Mazda over seat belt death
The US government all the way up to the Supreme court is in collusion with the Pharmaceutical companies, they are anti-famly, anti-child and guilty of child abuse.
This decision sets a very dangerous precedent. If you or I injured a child, even by accident, we would be liable for those injuries. With the blessing of the Supreme court, Pharma, on the other hand, can design products that hurt children with no reprocussions. Such double standards.
Since we can't rely on the Supreme Court to protect us, the only thing American consumers can do is refuse their products.
Posted by: Sarah | February 24, 2011 at 08:15 AM
Posted by: What next? | February 24, 2011 at 12:34 AM
Scalia sold some of his pharma stock so he could vote their way on this.
Score another blow for "The Corporation." Heartless.
Posted by: nhokkanen | February 23, 2011 at 11:49 PM
I'm afraid that our government is completely corrupt. Today I read that Jerome Bressler recently died. He was one of the good guys at the FDA and pointed out the many frauds in
G. D. Searle's studies of the side effects of aspartame (brain tumors and other types of cancer), but to no avail because:
"In 1981, after over 15 years of FDA disapproval of aspartame, G.D. Searle CEO Donald Rumsfeld, in a Searle sales meeting, vowed to "call in his markers" to get aspartame approved. Twenty days later, Ronald Reagan was sworn in as 40th President of the United States, appointing Rumsfeld as Special Envoy to the Middle East and Arthur Hull Hayes Jr. - a friend of Rumsfeld's - to FDA commissioner.
On January 21, 1981, the day after Ronald Reagan's inauguration, Searle re-applied to the FDA for approval to use aspartame in food sweetener. Reagan's new FDA commissioner, Arthur Hayes, appointed a 5-person Scientific Commission to review the board of inquiry's decision.
It soon became clear that the panel would uphold the ban by a 3-2 decision, but Hayes then installed a sixth member on the commission, and the vote became deadlocked. He then personally broke the tie in aspartame's favor. Hayes later left the FDA under allegations of impropriety, served briefly as Provost at New York Medical College, and then took a position [at $1000/day] with Burson-Marsteller, the chief public relations firm for both Monsanto and GD Searle. Since that time he has never spoken publicly about aspartame. (Monsanto bought G.D. Searle in 1984 and the aspartame business become Monsanto subsidiary NutraSweet Co)."
Here's the 60 Minutes report on aspartame, brain cancer and the FDA approval process:
Posted by: Carol | February 23, 2011 at 11:41 PM
Change is gonna come... unfortunately it looks like more kids might be getting sick first...... I pray the American public won't take this. It is so absurd that these pharma people have absolutely no liability. They can mix up any pile of $%#! and shoot the world up with it. That is some awesome power. I will continue to pray for those mixing up the magic potions. And also pray for the politicians who are throwing away common sense.
Posted by: fanofthefew | February 23, 2011 at 09:26 PM
Has this story been on regular news? I haven't seen it yet.
Posted by: fanofthefew | February 23, 2011 at 08:59 PM
This in unbelievable!!!! Even our Supreme Court has been bought out by Big Pharma? I figured this was going to be their ruling. If you read the ruling, what they are basically saying is that they are more worried about the vaccine makers being sued than protecting people from faulty vaccines? This just can not happen, to give them a free ticket to bring defective vaccines to the market with no threat of a lawsuit is outrageous. When are we going to get some justice?
I agree this is only going to back fire on them and I believe will only make people more concerend about vaccine safety. It is so obvious that the court wants to protect big business!!!!
Posted by: Rod | February 23, 2011 at 08:39 PM
I don't think any more effort should be put into changing the law. I think the best results would come from putting all our efforts into informing parents that they have no recourse if their children are injured by vaccines, and also informing them about exemptions for school and daycare vaccine requirements, and empowering them to say NO to doctors.
If, for example, I know that the Supreme Court ruled I can't sue a certain car manufacturer for defective design that leads to severe injury, and I know I am not legally required to buy that certain kind of car, I'm not going to buy that car. If I choose to do so, fully informed, then, well, who do I have to blame but myself if something goes horribly wrong?
Posted by: Kristina | February 23, 2011 at 08:26 PM
Time to protest the courts and companies. Such BS that they could walk away free because they would go bankrupt if one even one case went though the courts and won.... Yes this is America and we have our issues.... Actually, I'd like to know who sits on the bench and works/used to work for the drug companies...
Posted by: ShawnG | February 23, 2011 at 08:15 PM