December 22, 2005

Flu Vaccine-Makers' Liability Limited in U.S. Senate Measure

So Bill Frist got his liability protection for Pharma. Now if the avian flu breaks out and the government brings out the vaccine for it, pharma will not be responsible for any one who is injured by the vaccine. Will Pharma use this as the tip of the wedge to open up liability protection for all vaccine injuries? It is a safe bet.
Flu Vaccine-Makers' Liability Limited in U.S. Senate Measure

Dec. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Drugmakers would be protected from lawsuits related to flu vaccines under a $453 billion defense budget passed by the U.S. Senate.

The provision, added to the legislation last night by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican, would require patients seeking to sue a drugmaker to prove the company engaged in willful misconduct when producing a vaccine. The measure fails to provide compensation for injuries or deaths related to a vaccine, said Senator Edward Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat.

``Generally around here we measure who the winners are and who the losers are,'' Kennedy said on the floor of the Senate. ``Drug companies come out time and time again, but never, never, ever, ever like they have with this sweetheart deal.''

The measure may benefit companies including French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis SA, the largest supplier of U.S. flu vaccines, as well as London-based drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline Plc and the U.S. biotechnology company Chiron Corp., which are trying to develop a vaccine against avian influenza as governments try to prepare for a possible pandemic.

Kennedy said the liability waiver would be broader, covering vaccines related to any ``epidemic'' such as diabetes or obesity. As a result, the provision could apply to ``almost any vaccine, drug or device,'' Kennedy said.

The defense budget for the 2006 fiscal year passed after lawmakers removed a provision that would allow oil companies to drill in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The legislation also includes $29 billion for reconstruction of New Orleans and Gulf Coast areas damaged by Hurricane Katrina and $3.8 billion for combating avian influenza that was added by Frist.


Wade Rankin said...

"Merry Fristmas," indeed.

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Ginger said...

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