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« "Plaintiffs' Lawyers Seek $107M in Lucent Case Fees" | 2003's largest verdicts »

May 16, 2004

Vaccines, cont'd

Britain's legal-aid commission invested 15 million in assisting claimants who wanted to sue makers over the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine, but finally decided to call a halt: "After taking expert advice, the LSC acknowledged that, given the failure of research to establish a link between MMR and autism, the litigation was 'very likely to fail'". Michael Fitzpatrick, writing for the UK's Spiked Online, explores what he calls the "enormous waste of public funds" on the litigation. ("Medicine on trial", Dec. 15). Efforts to pin the blame on the preservative thimerosal have come up short, according to an editorial in today's WSJ: "Researchers recently examined the health records of all children born in Denmark from 1971 to 2000 for autism diagnoses. Though Denmark eliminated thimerosal from its vaccines in 1992, the researchers found that the incidence of autism continued to increase. A second research team reviewed the records of nearly 500,000 Danes vaccinated for pertussis. They also found that the risk of autism and related disorders didn't differ between those vaccinated with thimerosal and those without." ("The Politics of Autism" (editorial), Wall Street Journal, Dec. 29). More on vaccines and liability: Jim Copland (Manhattan Institute), "Liable to Infection", Dallas Morning News, Dec. 14; Robert Goldberg (also Manhattan Institute), "Vaccinating against disaster", Washington Times, Dec. 17; and see Dec. 24 and earlier posts. Update Feb. 25: Lancet regrets publication of anti-MMR study.

[cross-posted from Overlawyered, where it ran Dec. 29, 2003]

Posted by Walter Olson at 11:49 PM | TrackBack (0)

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