A judicial panel Thursday consolidated more than 31 lawsuits against Merck for injuries allegedly caused by its Gardasil HPV vaccine, rejecting Merck’s argument that doing so would increase vaccine hesitancy, spread misinformation about vaccines and cause a flood of ‘meritless’ injury claims.
A judicial panel on Aug. 4 issued an order consolidating more than 31 lawsuits brought against Merck & Co. for injuries allegedly caused by its Gardasil human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. The panel was “not persuaded” by Merck’s argument that consolidating the cases would increase vaccine hesitancy and cause a flood of “meritless” vaccine injury claims.
The lawsuits against Merck allege the pharmaceutical giant fast-tracked Gardasil through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval process and deceptively conducted clinical trials to mask serious side effects and exaggerate the vaccine’s effectiveness.
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation said the individual lawsuits involve common questions of fact, and that “centralization in the Western District of North Carolina will serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the just and efficient conduct of the litigation.”
The judicial panel wrote:
“These personal injury actions present common questions of fact arising from allegations that plaintiffs, or their minor children, developed postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) and various other injuries as the result of an autoimmune reaction to the Gardasil vaccine, which is recommended for the prevention of certain strains of the human papillomavirus and various cancers.”
The lawsuits consist of product liability claims, claims for breach of warranty, fraud, negligence and in some cases, violations of state consumer protection laws.