The rider bill in question doesn't prevent the families from seeking money for damages. It merely forces them to go to a special no-fault arbitration instead.
Which lets the execs and shareholders in question off the hook from serious examination-that in my book is a serious problem.
In vaccine arbitration, there is a limit to how much damages can be recovered. Congress decided that vaccine companies should have limited liability in 1986.
Vaccine arbitration was created to prevent vaccine companies from being crippled by lawsuits. The parents in this case found a loop hole by claiming that thimerosal, a preservative, was an additive instead of the vaccine itself.
When you throw in the fact that there is no proven link between thimerosal and autism yet, you can see why some would see these cases as frivolous.
There have been several eminent researchers that have gone on record as saying that there is a probably link between thimerosal, vaccine protocols and the autism epidemic in the US(head of immunology at UC Irvine and another that was at one point one of the 5 most cited authors in the medical literature). Now, the way the scientific establishement works the folks going public in that area are putting their careers on the line. A substantial portion of medical research funds at major universities is provided by large drug companies and politicians do not like folks that use government funds in ways that make major political donors look bad.
The essential questions are:
Should vaccine companies have limited liability?
Personally, I think that the government providing this insurance was a bad idea. Private companies should provide this type of protection-and if they can't--that tells you something. I'm pretty consistent on this point-I don't think the government should provide insurance for nuclear power plants, subsidize anti-terrorism insurance or be involved in the Federal reserve either. Whenever government gets involved in these activities, it is just a way for corporate elites to steal from the public coffers.
Should thimerosal be considered part of the vaccine or as an additive.
I suggest you read the literature on that whole mess. There was ample evidence to bring this substance into question before the whole process started. Personally, I think the execs in these companies should be treated under criminal law.
You may argue that it was cowardly to not admit involvement with this bill until later, but it's not quite the kiss to the vaccine companies ass that people are making it out to be.
It went beyond cowardly-it was sneaky, lying tactic-but that is what we have in congress and corporate america today-a bunch of sneaky liars. I don't think this rider has anything to do with national security(i.e. it would be straightfoward to keep the drug companies in business-lots of other execs willing/able to take over management of those companies. The drug companies had all the aces in their court-they had preferential treatment by congress, and they screwed up badly and needlessly.
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