SA Perspectives: No Immunity to Pork; February 2003; Scientific American Magazine; by Staff Editor; 1 Page(s)
Critics may gripe about whether the new Homeland Security Act fights terrorism well, but no one can say it doesn't do a great job of protecting drug companies from autistic children.
A short provision at the end of the act, added quietly just days before its passage, exempts Eli Lilly and other firms from direct civil litigation over whether vaccine additives cause autism. Parents suing on behalf of their autistic children are shunted to a federal "vaccine court," where damages are capped. Conveniently, in late November 2002 the Justice Department also requested that the court seal documents relating to hundreds of the lawsuits, complicating the cases for plaintiffs. Ever since these shameful developments became public, they have drawn bipartisan scorn. Beyond the provision's offensiveness as political pork, it is harmful to lifesaving vaccination efforts.