Glaxosmithkline faces products liability claim over injuries related to LYMErix vaccination

By Jon Campisi | Jul 12, 2012

A New York woman has filed a product liability claim against drugmaker

Glaxosmithkline over allegations that she suffered injuries related to a pharmaceutical she used in an attempt to protect her against Lyme Disease.

Philadelphia attorney Michael S. Katz, of the firm Lopez McHugh, filed the civil action July 9 at Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court on behalf of Teri Fay, who claims she was diagnosed with post-Lyme vaccination syndrome and treatment resistant Lyme arthritis after being vaccinated with LYMErix more than a decade ago.

In addition to Glaxosmithkline, Smithkline Beecham Corp. and various subsidiaries are also named as defendants in the lawsuit.

According to the complaint, Fay began receiving a series of LYMErix vaccinations beginning in June 1999.

The vaccination is intended to prevent Lyme Disease, an illness that is often the result of a deer tick bite.

Fay received a series of three vaccinations between the summer of 1999 and July 2000.

In the fall of 2010, the lawsuit claims, Fay was potentially diagnosed with demyelinating disease as well as matter changes of the brain.

Fay was not specifically diagnosed with post-Lyme vaccination autoimmune syndrome until sometime after October 15, 2010, at which time a connection was drawn with LYMErix, according to the complaint.

The lawsuit claims that despite knowledge of the vaccination’s dangerous nature, the defendants continued to design, manufacture, market and distribute the product in an effort to “maximize sales and profits at the expense of the health and safety of the public.”

“Defendants intentionally concealed and/or recklessly failed to disclose to the medical community, the public, including the Plaintiff herein, and the FDA the potentially life threatening side effects of LYMErix in order to ensure continued and increased sales,” the lawsuit states. “Defendants’ intentional and/or reckless failure to disclose information deprived the Plaintiff of necessary information to enable her to weigh the true risks of using the subject product against its benefits.”

While Fay’s alleged injuries arose out of treatment she received more than a decade ago, her attorneys claim that the running of any statute of limitations has been tolled by reason of the drug companies’ “fraudulent concealment.”

“Defendants, through their affirmative misrepresentations and omissions, actively concealed from Plaintiff and Plaintiff’s administrating physician the true risks associated with vaccination with LYMErix,” the complaint reads. “As a result of Defendants’ actions, Plaintiff and, upon information and belief, Plaintiff’s prescribing physician were unaware, and could not reasonably know or have learned through reasonable diligence that she had been exposed to the risks alleged herein and that those risks were the direct and proximate result of Defendants’ acts and omissions.”

The lawsuit further asserts that the drug companies have attempted to blame patients for their injuries by claiming that “the possibility of a severe rheumatologic, neurologic, autoimmune adverse event is inherent in Lyme disease.”

But the defendants never informed consumers and their doctors that the adverse events can result from LYMErix “completely apart from the disease.”

“As a result of the Defendants’ actions,” the suit states, “consumers and physicians were kept in the dark about the life-threatening side effects of LYMErix.”

The lawsuit contains counts of common law fraud, negligence, negligent misrepresentation, products liability for design defect and failure to warn, unjust enrichment, negligence per se, breach of implied and express warranties and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Fay seeks unspecified compensatory damages for past and future pain and suffering, severe and permanent personal injuries, healthcare costs, medical monitoring; unspecified punitive and/or exemplary damages for the “wanton, willful, fraudulent, reckless acts of the Defendants who demonstrated a complete disregard and reckless indifference for the safety and welfare of the general public and to the Plaintiff;” attorney’s fees, litigation costs and other court relief.

A jury trial has been demanded.


The case ID number is 120700984.

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