From the December 2008 Idaho Observer:

NVIC president calls for repeal of VICA as Big Pharma convinces courts to deny damages in product liability cases

A huge breakthrough has just occurred in the vaccine awareness movement that many are hoping will bring disparate factions together in order to achieve the ultimate goal—the repeal of compulsory vaccination laws nationwide.

On November 18, 2008, National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) President Barbara Loe Fisher presented a statement to the Advisory Committee on Childhood Vaccines (ACCV) calling the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) a failure and citing numerous reasons for the repeal of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Act (VICA) of 1986 now memorialized in Title 3 of Public Law 99-660.

It has been 22 years since the inception of the VICP. To have the leader of the only national vaccine safety organization at the time who was also the leading force behind VICA’s passage, to now admit what numerous experts had warned about while the act was being debated, is an amazing act of humility.

What happened that changed her mind? The reality of what several experts in our country and around the world warned would happen if VICA passed—the exponential growth of vaccines developed due to the complete lack of direct liability for dangerous vaccines reaching the marketplace and a national public health program infiltrated by big Pharma interests.

Prior to VICA’s 1986 passage, vaccine development was at the low end of pharmaceutical industry priorities due to attorneys successfully winning million dollar awards for vaccine injury cases. At the time, vaccines were becoming too expensive to produce and sell since damage awards had to be figured into their cost. After VICA, a tax for administering and funding VICP was added to each vaccine sold on the market. The end result was that the U.S. taxpayer covered the cost of marketing vaccines through the Dept. of Health and Human Services and CDC, the cost of resulting death and disabilities through VICP and the cost of vaccine development through the National Institutes of Health, which had already developed a cozy relationship with Big Pharma and allopathic medicine. Today, 22 years later, our nation’s children are among the most vaccinated in the world and experiencing more vaccine-related illnesses than ever before—autism (ASD), developmental disorders (PDD), diabetes, chronic ear infections, leukemia and other cancers have skyrocketed.

While pediatricians continue to deny any association between doctor visits where multiple vaccines were administered with the sudden onset of seizures and other symptoms of neurological damage, parents are not convinced and have sought compensation through the VICP. As of October, 2008, a total of 12,746 claims have been filed but only 2,266 have been acknowledged as provable vaccine-damage and a total of $1.8 billion in compensation has been paid to date. So far, 4,755 claims have been dismissed.

Nearly 5,000 vaccine injury claims are sitting in limbo because they represent children with brain and immune system disorders but have been diagnosed with regressive autism, a condition not recognized by the VICP as a compensatible diagnosis. A study by harvard professor Michael Ganz estimates that the lifetime cost of caring for a child with autism is more than $3 million.

Although VICP claims are supposed to be handled "quickly, easily and with certainty and generosity," according to a House report accompanying the 1986 legislation, many claims have taken years to be settled, some more than 10 years. According to Fisher, "Obtaining compensation has become a highly adversarial, time-consuming, traumatic and expensive process for families of vaccine injured children and far too many vaccine victims have been denied compensation."

Perfect timing for pharma. It is clear that the manner in which the VICP has been administrated is not in keeping with the original legislative intent. However, the timing of Fisher "questioning whether the compensation program is fatally flawed and so broken that it should be repealed" is worth exploring. In February 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Reigel v. Medtronic that FDA approval of certain medical devices preempted liability lawsuits against manufacturers. A few weeks later, in Warner-Lambert v. Kent where plaintiffs claimed personal injury arising from using Rezulin, Warner-Lambert’s FDA-approved drug for diabetes treatment, the Supreme Court was split 4 to 4. Due to these favorable rulings for big Pharma, the case of Wyeth v. Levine was appealed to the high court after a Vermont jury in 2006 awarded Diana Levine $7 million due to complications from an IV injection of Wyeth’s anti-nausea drug Phenergan. On November 3, 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Levine and a decision is expected to be rendered in June 2009.

As you can see from the above cases, the fix is in. As Vaccination Liberation Director Ingri Cassel observed, "The damage from passage of the Vaccine Injury Compensation Act has been done, giving the pharmaceutical industry $billions in profits without any real liability until the Vioxx scandal and a few Prozac/Zoloft cases where the plaintiffs were pressured to settle out of court. Now, with these recent Supreme Court cases, it is naïve for parents to think they will be able to civilly sue vaccine manufacturers for damages and have any chance of winning once VICA is repealed."

To view Barbara Loe Fisher’s statement presented to the ACCV on November 18, 2008, "The Vaccine Injury Compensation Program: A Failed Experiment in Tort Reform?" go to

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If you are in a state that does not have a philosophical or personal conviction exemption to vaccinations, or state enforced treatment with psychiatric drugs, it is imperative that you take a proactive position to protect yourself and your children from the threat of vaccine injury. There are resources available at or you can call VacLib at 1-888-249-1421 for more information.