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Anticipating the Impact of Bruesewitz v. Wyeth on Vaccine and Medical Countermeasure Injury Compensation and Availability

Brooke Courtney, Ryan Morhard
Date posted:
December 10, 2010
Publication type:

Biosecur Bioterror 2010;8(4):315-320

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
Open access
See also:

Article available on publisher’s site: HTML • PDF


In the mid-1980s, Congress passed the Vaccine Act to address concerns about relief for vaccine-related injuries and vaccine availability after product liability suits threatened to drive manufacturers out of the market. To encourage production while also ensuring fair recovery for vaccine-related injuries, the act limits injury claims against vaccine manufacturers in state court and established the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP). The VICP process has been challenged through litigation. In a current case, 2 parents, who claim that their child suffered health problems after receiving Wyeth, Inc.’s, diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTP) vaccine, are challenging whether the Vaccine Act preempts all design defect claims, whether a vaccine’s side effects were unavoidable or not. In October 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments for this case, Bruesewitz v. Wyeth, Inc., but an opinion is not expected until mid-2011. Depending on the outcome, the case may have important implications for pending and future claims of injury resulting from vaccines as well as for vaccine availability and manufacturers. This article provides a brief overview of the case and the VICP. It also summarizes the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act’s Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP) in light of alleged injuries resulting from use of 2009 H1N1 countermeasures.



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