Friday, April 27, 2012
One More Vaccination Court Case
To stabilize the vaccine market and facilitate compensation, Congress enacted the NCVIA in 1986. The Act establishes a no-fault compensation program “designed to work faster and with greater ease than the civil tort system.” Shalala v. Whitecotton, 514 U. S. 268, 269 (1995). A person injured by a vaccine, or his legal guardian, may file apetition for compensation in the United States Court of Federal Claims, naming the Secretary of Health andHuman Services as the respondent.
Successful claimants receive compensation for medical, rehabilitation, counseling, special education, and vocational training expenses; diminished earning capacity;pain and suffering; and $250,000 for vaccine-related deaths. Attorney’s fees are provided, not only for successful cases, but even for unsuccessful claims that are not frivolous. These awards are paid out of a fund created byan excise tax on each vaccine dose.
The vaccine manufacturers fund from their sales an informal, efficient compensation program for vaccine injuries; in exchange they avoid costly tort litigation and the occasional disproportionate jury verdict.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which represents 60,000 pediatricians, stands behind today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Bruesewitz v. Wyeth, Inc. (No. 09-152, S. Ct.) to preserve the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) and safeguard the nation’s vaccine supply.
In 1986, access to life-saving vaccines was in jeopardy. Congress responded by passing the Vaccine Act, which established the no-fault alternative VICP to compensate the families of children who suffer from rare adverse reactions caused by vaccines, and to protect the nation’s vaccine supply. Today’s ruling preserves the Vaccine Court set up through the VICP as the first entry point for families seeking compensation for injuries caused by childhood vaccines.
By providing an avenue for vaccine injury claims separate from the traditional litigation process, the Vaccine Court has expedited compensation for families in need, prevented manufacturers from abandoning the vaccine market, and ensured a stable supply of vaccines to protect against countless childhood diseases.
“Today, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed what pediatricians have been advocating for decades,” said Dr. Burton. “Vaccines save lives.”
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