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Supreme Court Weighs Lawsuit on Vaccine Side Effects

October 13, 2010
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The Supreme Court is trying to sort out whether drug companies can be sued for claims of serious side effects from childhood vaccines, reports the Associated Press. The court heard arguments in an appeal filed by Pittsburgh-area parents who want to sue drug maker Wyeth, which is owned by Pfizer Inc., for the health problems they say their 18-year-old daughter suffered from a vaccine she received in infancy. Several justices appeared sympathetic to the parents'' plea to be allowed to make their case in court. Wyeth, backed by the Obama administration and many public health groups, argued that Congress shielded drug companies from most vaccine lawsuits when it created a special vaccine court 24 years ago to handle the claims. The vaccine court has paid out more than $1.9 billion to more than 2,500 people who claimed a connection between a vaccine and serious health problems. The court has dismissed more than 5,000 other claims and has another 5,000 pending, mostly alleging links between vaccines and autism.

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