Vaccine manufacturers cannot be sued over design defects, US Supreme Court rules

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 25 February 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d1292
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1BMJ

The US Supreme Court has ruled by a 6-2 majority that vaccine manufacturers cannot be sued over claims of design defects in their products.

The court was ruling on a case brought by the parents of a child who developed seizures after a routine diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus (DPT) vaccination (Bruesewitz v Wyeth Inc). It ruled that an act passed by Congress in 1986, which set up a no fault scheme to compensate any child injured by vaccine side effects, bars lawsuits against vaccine manufacturers.

“The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act pre-empts all design defect claims against vaccine manufacturers brought …

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