Friday, March 12, 2010

Thimerosal ruling disappointment

Most scientists agree that thimerosal - a mercury-laden vaccine preservative - is a cause of the skyrocketing rate of autism in America's children. Some studies dispute this, but most of the studies that claim thimerosal is safe were bankrolled by drug companies. So it's not unreasonable to conclude that thimerosal is a dangerous additive.

This additive is clearly not the only cause of autism, and I'm sure it's not the biggest cause - but it is one of many, and it must be confronted.

But we live in an era in which drug makers are shielded from lawsuits no matter how harmful their products are. So who's surprised by today's federal court ruling?

The court ruled today that the link between thimerosal and autism is "scientifically unsupportable" - despite the evidence of such a link. The problem with the ruling isn't so much that it rejected 3 individual cases for lack of evidence, but that the court rejected the thimerosal/autism link altogether - a declaration that may dash thousands of cases.

Thimerosal cases are decided by a special vaccine court under a law signed by Reagan - not by a regular court. In these courts, government attorneys actually defend the drug makers - at taxpayer expense. So maybe it's time to pass a law to move these cases back to regular court.

Meanwhile, drug makers continue to battle the American public over the safety of other drugs - and courts are always eager to give them what they want, even ruling that design defect claims are barred by law. Outrageously, the Justice Department supports drug makers in this case. (Yet another reason Eric Holder should be replaced.)

Remember, this is the same drug industry that insisted for years that Cylert was safe (only to be forced to remove it from the market when cases of fatal liver damage came to light). And you can't trust the government either, after it allowed genetically altered products in our food supply.