Posted on 10th March 2015
Peter Todd, partner at Hodge Jones & Allen is currently involved in bringing claims against GSK and the Government on behalf of 68 clients who were given the swine flu vaccine, Pandemrix, and subsequently developed narcolepsy. About two thirds of Peter’s clients were children when they were given the vaccine during the swine flu pandemic in 2009/10.
There are two legal actions currently underway.
The first is a claim through the statutory Vaccine Compensation Scheme administrated by the DWP. The DWP have accepted that the vaccine caused the narcolepsy but have refused to pay out as they do not consider narcolepsy to be a ‘severe’ disability. Hodge Jones & Allen have appealed, contending that this is a severe and incurable condition causing major implications for his clients for the rest of their lives. This was upheld by the First Tier Tribunal but that decision has been appealed by DWP to the Upper Tribunal. The appeal was heard on Monday 2nd March 2015 and judgment is presently reserved.
The second is a product liability claim against GSK under the Consumer Protection Act based on the position that the vaccine was defective i.e. less safe than person receiving it was entitled to reasonably expect. Although GSK supplied the drug, they did so based on the fact that if there were any claims then the UK government would assume liability. This means the case is against GSK but would require the government to pay out if successful.
GSK have disputed the claim because the vaccines were administered as part of a pandemic situation but Peter is conducting discussions with GSK and the UK government with a review to a resolution.