July 19, 2017 — A group of 18 people have filed a lawsuit accusing Merck & Co. of failing to warn that the Zostavax shingles vaccine can potentially cause shingles and death.
Zostavax contains about 14-times more live virus than Merck’s chickenpox vaccine for children. In people with vulnerable immune systems, the virus sometimes causes severe shingles infections.
Some of the plaintiffs suffered permanent complications of shingles, such as skin rash scarring or Post-Herpetic Neuralgia (PHN), a condition involving nerve damage and excruciating chronic pain. Other side effects of shingles include blindness, paralysis, and even death.
Zostavax has been available in the United States since 2006, but “shingles” and “chickenpox” were not added to the list of side effects until August 2014. The FDA received reports of 36 deaths and 1,111 serious injuries from Zostavax by September 2015.
Lawyers say Merck knew — or should have known — about the risk long before updating the label on Zostavax. According to the lawsuit:
“Merck downplayed the serious and dangerous side effects of its product to encourage sales of the product; consequently, Merck placed its profits above its customers’ safety.”
Merck is also accused of failing to adequately inform patients or doctors that Zostavax wears off in 5 years. Even in the best scenario, Zostavax only prevent shingles in 51% of patients. Data from the CDC shows “almost no remaining preventative effects after 7 years.”
The label also does not warn against giving it too closely together with other vaccines because doing so may further decrease effectiveness.
The lawsuit (PDF) was filed on July 11 in the Superior Court of New Jersey (Middlesex County) — In RE: Tammy Anderson et al v. Merck & Co Inc. et al — Case No. L-4177-17.
Do I have a Zostavax Lawsuit?
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting Zostavax induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been diagnosed with shingles side effects, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Vaccine Injury Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
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