A series of suits in Ireland challenging the Irish state, the Health Service Executive (Ireland’s publicly funded health and social services agency), the Department of Health, and maker of the Pandemrix swine flu vaccine GlaxoSmithKline, have moved into the evidence discovery stage.
The High Court in Ireland ordered documents from the Department of Health and GlaxoSmithKline for discovery.
The suit involves 67 individuals, many who are children and some who are adults.
“We are demanding financial compensation for the spectrum of loss incurred by children, teens, and adults, some of whom will never be able to obtain a driver’s license or even live alone due to the significant issues that narcolepsy patients encounter,” says Michael Boylan, partner and head of the medical negligence group at Augustus Cullen Law, in an e-mail interview with Sleep Review.
Many of Boylan’s clients also have cataplexy, which has made them “collapse like a puppet” and suffer from falls down the stairs or even through the glass panes in shower stalls.
As a result of the World Health Organization’s declaration of swine flu as a pandemic, many European countries fast-tracked the marketing authorization of the vaccine even though “it was not tested by humans before it was given a marketing authorization,” posits Boylan.
“The implications of having this disorder is huge; my clients are facing serious lifelong consequences,” Boylan ads.
A government commissioned report with findings by Elizabeth Miller, an epidemiologist at the United Kingdom’s Health Protection Agency, found minors and adults to be 14 times at more risk of developing narcolepsy.
The US Center for Disease Control also reported that scientists at the United Kingdom’s Health Protection Agency found evidence of association between Pandemrix and narcolepsy in children in England.
Boylan says he hopes that compensation for his clients comes soon. “It is shocking that the state failed to warn anybody and that GlaxoSmithKline has denied any responsibility and putting us on proof of everything,” Boylan says. “Not even the parents [of his clients] knew of the fact that the vaccine was untested.”
Yoona Ha is a freelance writer and digital strategist.