Supreme Court Throws Out Vaccine Lawsuit Against Drugmaker

Supreme Court Throws Out Vaccine Lawsuit Against DrugmakerThe parents of a child who allegedly developed a seizure disorder after receiving a vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc.'s Wyeth unit cannot sue to attain compensation from the drugmaker, the Supreme Court recently ruled.

The Bruesewitzes' dangerous drugs lawsuit claimed that their daughter developed a seizure disorder and developmental problems soon after receiving the vaccine in 1992, and still suffers from these conditions, according to Courthouse News Service.

Justice Antonin Scalia reportedly wrote that the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) of 1986 explicitly bars such lawsuits. According to Bloomberg, the law channels complaints about side-effect related injuries into a company-funded no-fault pool. The system offers guaranteed but limited payouts, the source reports, and in doing so is intended to encourage vaccine innovation and production by shielding drugmakers from what Scalia referred to as "the occasional disproportionate jury verdict."

Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Ginsburg dissented. The decision "leaves a regulatory vacuum in which no one ensures that vaccine manufacturers adequately take account of scientific and technological advancements when designing or distributing their product," Sotomayor wrote, the News Service reports.