Zostavax Lawsuit

When people take preventative medication, whether HIV PrEP or a vaccine, the last thing they expect is that they will become sicker. Zostavax is a live viral vaccine approved by the FDA in 2006 to prevent herpes zoster infection in older Americans. While it was said to cut the risk of developing shingles by more than 70 percent, a number of individuals suffered serious side effects.  

If you are considering a shingles vaccine lawsuit, you are not alone. To date, more than 1,000 people have filed a Zostavax lawsuit in federal court and the number is growing. Bart Bernard is accepting cases nationwide. Contact us for a free case review.

Primary Zostavax side effects

The primary side effect of the Zostavax vaccine is that it may cause shingles – the very problem it’s supposed to prevent! A person with Shingles may experience:

  • Fever, nausea, light sensitivity, headache, and general weakness to start,
  • Followed by areas of pain, burning, and tingling.
  • Contagiousness peaks around this time.
  • A few days later, a rash appears that will last two to four weeks.
  • By the time the rash appears, the virus is no longer contagious.
  • Pink or red patches usually affect one side of the body and cluster around nerve pathways.
  • A common site for Shingles is along the waist in what is called a “belt” pattern.
  • Sharp, shooting pains are commonly reported along with the itching as the rash scabs over.
  • Postherpetic neuralgia pain that persists for months is the most common complication (in up to 18%).
  • Other potential complications may include infection, scarring, hearing problems, or vision loss.
  • In rare cases, Shingles can cause pneumonia, encephalitis (brain inflammation), or death.

One or two out of one million patients will suffer from anaphylactic shock after receiving a Zostavax injection. Signs of a serious and potentially fatal shingles vaccine reaction may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hives
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Stomach pain
  • Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Vomiting
  • Wheezing

Serious adverse reactions should be treated in urgent care immediately and reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System online or by calling 1-800-822-7967.

Who Is the Zostavax Manufacturer?

Merck & Co. is the manufacturer implicated in Zostavax lawsuits. They began as a drug store in Darmstadt, Germany in 1668 and later added a U.S. subsidiary in 1891. Merck became an independent American company in 1917. They are known as the manufacturers of the first smallpox vaccine for commercial use in America. Merck manufactures more than 50 popular drugs targeting cardiovascular and infectious diseases, as well as Type 2 Diabetes, Asthma, and Birth Control. In addition to human health, they make diabetes treatments for cats and dogs, as well as vaccines for cattle. Today, they are one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, generating some $42 billion dollars in annual revenue.

Merck has not been without controversy. Lawsuits have been filed over products Fosamax, Januvia, NuvaRing, Propecia, and Vioxx.

Add Zostavax to the long list of legal troubles Merck has faced for marketing drugs without first ensuring safety. In this country, manufacturers are held responsible for designing, manufacturing, and marketing drugs that are “reasonably safe.” When risks are identified through rigorous clinical trials, they must be clearly listed on the warning label; otherwise, the manufacturer can be held liable for the “failure to warn.”

FDA History of Action Regarding Zostavax

Zostavax was first indicated for patients ages 60+ in May 2006, which was expanded in 2011 to include patients in their fifties. The vaccine was designed to prevent the onset of shingles, which is caused by the chickenpox virus (varicella-zoster virus) that goes dormant in the body for a number of years. An estimated 1 in 3 people who have had chickenpox will suffer from shingles.

It wasn’t until August 2014 that the FDA instructed Merck to add information that the vaccine could potentially cause shingles onto the packaging. By 2017, Fierce Pharma reported a growing number of lawsuits were being filed by plaintiffs who said the vaccine caused their shingles. The National Vaccine Information Center reported 1,141 serious adverse events between 1990 and 2015. In February 2016, the FDA required an update to the Zostavax warning label that included necrotizing keratitis, scarring, and permanent vision loss as possible side effects.

Taking a vaccine seems like a reasonable protection, but many people now wonder: Is the Shingles vaccine safe? Suffice to say, most people would not risk blindness or excruciating residual pain to take a placebo. No one would willingly want to inject a virus into their bodies that would make them sick. Zostavax is still on the market today with the potential for serious side effects, but the CDC recommends Shingrix, a less dangerous vaccine made using an inactive strain of the virus developed in 2017, to Americans over 50 years of age.

Multidistrict Litigation & Zostavax Lawsuit Settlement Amounts

Usually, as many similar claims amass in courts around the country, proceedings are consolidated into what is called Multidistrict Litigation (MDL). Early discovery and pretrial motions are consolidated in federal district court. A common judge presides over a series of three bellwether trials to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the central argument. From there, the manufacturer may offer to settle with the plaintiffs or may continue to battle in court, but each case is judged based on its individual merit.

MDL 2848 was created in 2018, consolidating Zostavax lawsuits into the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Of the 1,012 cases originally filed, some 933 remain pending as of November 2019.

Now is a great time to inquire about joining the growing litigation. The first bellwether trial is scheduled for November 2020. To date, no Zostavax case has gone all the way to trial, so we don’t have jury award figures for you, but it is not uncommon for cases like this to result in settlements into the millions of dollars.

Questions About Filing a Zostavax Lawsuit? Click Bart First, Call Bart First™

You’re Smart. Get Bart.™ Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers has a proven track record of going up against well-heeled defendants and winning. We are happy to answer any questions you may have about pursuing a shingles shot lawsuit during a free, no-obligation consultation. Should you agree to have us represent your interests, you are expected to pay nothing upfront. If we don’t recover money on your behalf, you pay us nothing! Contact us any time 24/7 to schedule your appointment.

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