I haven’t read this in its entirety, I don’t always agree with the Wall Street Journal but it was one of the few publications that recently covered the issue of vaccine injury and the liability limits of the pharmaceutical industry. There are also limits established by government when an “epidemic” is formally announced, I’ll have to do some additional digging to find that information.
Wall Street Journal, Feb. 23, 2009
One of the little-noticed reasons that Wyeth was attractive enough to command a $68 billion price for rival Pfizer Inc.’s planned takeover sits in a building catty-corner from the White House across Pennsylvania Avenue. That is where a special “vaccines court” hears cases brought by parents who claim their children have been harmed by routine vaccinations.
The court — and the law that established it more than two decades ago — buffers Wyeth and other makers of childhood-disease vaccines from much of the litigation risk that dogs traditional pill manufacturers and is an important reason why the vaccine business has been transformed from a risky, low-profit venture in the 1970s to one of the pharmaceutical industry’s most attractive product lines today.
The legal shield, known as the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, was put into place in 1986 to encourage the development of vaccines, a mainstay of the nation’s public-health policy. A spate of lawsuits against vaccine makers in the 1970s and 1980s had caused dozens of companies to get out of the low-profit business, creating a public-health scare.