U.S. Court of Claims Rejects Junk Science In Vaccine Case

Law, Science

Significant news on the struggle between legitimate scientific inquiry, on the one hand, and lawyer-driven, publicity-fueled, irrational-superstition-dwelling junk science on the other. The U.S. Court of Claims, under the auspices of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, today soundly rejected the proposition that the MMR vaccine causes autism and other dysfunctions. The core of the ruling:

The petitioners in this case have advanced a causation theory that has several parts, including
contentions (1) that thimerosal-containing vaccines can cause immune dysfunction, (2) that the
MMR vaccine can cause autism, and (3) that the MMR vaccine can cause chronic gastrointestinal
dysfunction. However, as to each of those issues, I concluded that the evidence was overwhelmingly
contrary to the petitioners’ contentions. The expert witnesses presented by the respondent were far
better qualified, far more experienced, and far more persuasive than the petitioners’ experts,
concerning most of the key points. The numerous medical studies concerning these issues,
performed by medical scientists worldwide, have come down strongly against the petitioners’
contentions. Considering all of the evidence, I found that the petitioners have failed to demonstrate
that thimerosal-containing vaccines can contribute to causing immune dysfunction, or that the MMR
vaccine can contribute to causing either autism or gastrointestinal dysfunction. I further conclude
that while Michelle Cedillo has tragically suffered from autism and other severe conditions, the
petitioners have also failed to demonstrate that her vaccinations played any role at all in causing
those problems.

Related rulings released today along the same lines are here.

I've previously blogged about the excesses of vaccine lawyers, usually by linking to the exceptional Neurodiversity Weblog. For now, I will wait for more scientifically literate thinkers to comment at length. Clearly, though, this is a substantial victory for forces urging a science-based approach to the vaccine issue.

Edit: Kathleen Seidel at Neurodiversity has a post up already in which she highlights some of the harshest language about the claimants' hired experts:

After studying the extensive evidence in this case for many months, I am convinced that the reports and advice given to the Cedillos by Dr. Krigsman and some other physicians, advising the Cedillos that there is a causal connection between Michelle’s MMR vaccination and her chronic conditions, have been very wrong. Unfortunately, the Cedillos have been misled by physicians who are guilty, in my view, of gross medical misjudgment.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Pagan Temple  •  Feb 12, 2009 @9:24 pm

    I think the focus of this lawsuit was based on the charge that the vaccine lowered resistance to infections that could cause autism. The one case involved a young girl who became autistic after contracting a virus resulting in a very high fever, if I remember right.

    This however, is not the end of the matter. There are yet other cases pending in which it will be charged the vaccine is a direct cause of autism, which according to the report I saw earlier tonight, this one charged an indirect link, which is quite different.

    So, we have a ways to go before it is put completely to rest. My main fear is that a judgment for the plaintiffs, who are certainly worthy of sympathy and respect, will almost assuredly serve to further drive up the cost of pharmaceuticals, to say nothing of insurance, and on top of that serve to further add to the time it takes for FDA approval of new drugs to be granted.