Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Supreme Court Addresses Vaccine Safety - A U.S. law protects drug makers from lawsuits filed for serious side effects caused by childhood vaccines, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday. In a 6-2 vote, the court decided against a Pennsylvania couple who said their 19-year-old daughter's developmental problems were caused by a diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccine she got when she was 6 months old. The parents sued the vaccine maker, Wyeth, which was acquired by Pfizer Inc. in 2009, in Pennsylvania state court. Writing for the court, Justice Antonin Scalia said the nation's special vaccine court was established to handle such claims, so that compensation could be provided to injured children without driving drug makers from the vaccine market. In July 2010, the AAP joined 21 other health organizations to file a "friends-of-the-court" brief in the case, urging the Supreme Court to protect the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. The program was established by the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Compensation Act of 1986, which "preempts design defect claims against vaccine manufacturers," the academy said in a news release.