March 8, 2010
The Supreme Court said on Monday that it would decide whether a federal law protects vaccine manufacturers from lawsuits in state court seeking damages for alleged design defects.
The high court agreed to hear a Pennsylvania case involving a lawsuit by the parents of a child who suffered seizures after her third dose of a diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP) vaccine. They sued the vaccine manufacturer, Wyeth, which Pfizer Inc purchased last year.
Pfizer shares fell 1 percent to $17.30 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
At issue was the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986. It says no manufacturer “shall be liable in any civil action” for any injury that “resulted from side effects that were unavoidable even though the vaccine was properly prepared and was accompanied by proper directions and warnings.”
The justices agreed to decide the issue after conflicting lower-court rulings.