Zostavax, a vaccine administered to protect against herpes zoster, otherwise known as shingles, is now being contested in approximately 550 cases in multidistrict litigation (MDL). Here, the Baltimore pharmaceutical liability attorneys at The Law Offices of Peter Angelos discuss updates in Zostavax litigation for 2019.
Zostavax was Intended to Weaken the Shingles Virus
When Zostavax was first introduced as a shingles vaccine by New Jersey pharmaceutical company Merck & Co., it was intended to function as a single shot that would supposedly expose the patient to a small dose of the shingles virus in order to strengthen their immune system to fight against it. Meant to last five years, Zostavax has been recommended to adults age 50 and over to prevent the development of shingles.
Merck & Co. is Now Involved in Hundreds of Product Liability Claims
Despite assertions that Zostavax is an effective form of shingles prevention, individuals are now coming forward with claims that the vaccine caused more harm than good, with plaintiffs alleging that Zostavax caused a more serious and painful form of shingles and other autoimmune disorders that are less treatable than the plaintiffs’ initial prognoses. As victims come forward, it is becoming more clear that the vaccine manufacturer Merck & Co. may have known that a percentage of shingles patients would have this form of reaction to the vaccine, yet failed to warn the public of possible health hazards.
Pending Zostavax Cases Have Been Consolidated in Federal Courts
In August 2018, Merck & Co.’s motion to consolidate the cases pending in Federal Courts was accepted by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. Before the cases were consolidated and assigned to U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, there were thousands of suits pending across the country, with the first lawsuits filed in 2016. Judge Bartle has selected the initial bellwether cases to be grouped into two categories and prepared for five proposed trial dates that will occur between the fall of 2020 and summer of 2021.
The first bellwether group, known as Group A, will consist of cases involving individuals who have developed shingles, as well as other herpes zoster-related conditions like Ramsay Hunt Syndrome and herpes zoster encephalitis, after receiving a Zostavax vaccination. Group B will consist of cases where individuals developed non-shingles related conditions associated with the live virus in Zostavax including Bell’s palsy, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, hemorrhagic stroke and aseptic meningitis.
Consult with a Pharmaceutical Liability Attorney if You Have Been Impacted by Zostavax
Any event which results in patients being injured by a pharmaceutical product intended to protect them is a violating and an unacceptable experience. The dedicated pharmaceutical liability attorneys at The Law Offices of Peter Angelos are committed to pursuing the compensation you deserve if you have been harmed by a Zostavax vaccine and will stay by your side from initial litigation to final verdict. If you or a loved one has developed a health condition as a result of receiving a Zostavax vaccine, schedule your free consultation at our Baltimore office now.