A Pittsburgh area family has lost its case before the U.S. Supreme Court over the side-effects from a childhood vaccine.. Russell and Robalee Bruesewitz of Mt. Lebanon sued the drug maker Wyeth in a state court over the health problems they claim their daughter Hannah, who is now 19, suffered as a result of Wyeth's Tri Immunol diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus vaccine.
The couple says their daughter experienced seizures after receiving the 3rd of 5 doses of the vaccine as a baby. The Bruesewitz's say Wyeth should have sold a safer vaccine that was available. By a 6-2 vote today, the high court ruled that a 1986 law preempts such claims. Under that law, vaccine makers fund a limited compensation program for vaccine injuries. In return, the manufacturers cannot be sued.
The Bruesewitz's challenged that law saying the vaccine was defective and a safer one was available. The family says Hannah will need care her entire life.
Writing for the court, Justice Antonin Scalia said the law sets up a special vaccine court to provide compensation without driving drug manufacturers from the vaccine market. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented. Justice Elena Kagan did not take part in the ruling. This decision seems to block lawsuits from families who claim that vaccines are to blame for autism in their children.