At least 60 Britons – most of them children — suffered severe brain damage as a result of a government-administered flu vaccine and will receive huge payouts, London’s Sunday Times reported.
To make matters worse, as many as 800 children and adults may have been made sick by the same vaccine.
“There has never been a case like this before,” attorney Peter Todd told The Sunday Times. “The victims of this vaccine have an incurable and lifelong condition and will require extensive medication.”
The vaccine, called Pandemrix, has been proven to cause serious problems, including narcolepsy and cataplexy, in about in 16,000 people, The International Business Times reported. Victims are unable to sleep at night, and they lose much of their memory and intellect, and lose consciousness during the day.
Around 6 million doses of Pandemrix were administered to British subjects by the National Health Service (NHS) during the swine flu panic in 2009. Across Europe, 30 million people received it.
“There’s no doubt in my mind whatsoever that Pandemrix increased the occurrence of narcolepsy onset in children in some countries — and probably in most countries,” Emmanuelle Mignot, a sleep disorder specialist at Stanford University, told Reuters.
Mignot was paid to research the effects of Pandemrix by the vaccine’s manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
“The government has accepted Pandemrix did cause narcolepsy,” Todd, who represented some of the victims, told The Sunday Times.
The British government has agreed to pay each of the British victims of Pandemrix £1 million (US $1.5 million). Some of the victims are NHS employees who were pressured to get vaccinated by the agency. The NHS is the government agency in charge of most British health care facilities.
One man identified as a “50-year-old medical worker” told The Sunday Times that he was bombarded by emails from NHS urging him to get vaccinated. Brain damage from the vaccine destroyed the man’s life, leaving him unable to work at a computer.
“I am facing the end of my career and the loss of my house,” the man said. “GSK did not do enough research and we are suffering the consequences.”
Another victim was 8-year-old Josh Hadfield of Somerset England who now suffers from narcolepsy, The International Business Times reported. Hadfield needs drugs that cost $22,595 a year to stay awake in school because of Pandemrix.
“If you make him laugh, he collapses,” the boy’s mother, Caroline Hadfield, told the Business Times. “His memory is shot. There is no cure. He says he wishes he hadn’t been born. I feel incredibly guilty about letting him have the vaccine.”
Taxpayers Left Holding the Bag
GlaxoSmithKline refused to sell Pandemrix to governments unless it was protected against financial fallout if the vaccine caused harm, The International Business Times reported.
That means the British taxpayer and not Glaxo Smith Kline will pay the settlement to victims.
GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK) is a publicly-traded company that reported annual sales of $37.87 billion on Dec. 31, 2014. The company has an enterprise value of $148.09 billion.
The number of Pandemrix victims could grow because many of them have not yet come forward, The Sunday Times reported.
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