On August 2, 2018, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) decided to consolidate 98 Zostavax lawsuits against Merck & Co. into a multidistrict litigation (MDL). These lawsuits were filed by people who received Zostavax, a vaccine to prevent them from developing shingles, and claim to have suffered serious injuries ranging from vision problems and hearing loss to autoimmune disorders, congestive heart failure, brain damage and even shingles. These lawsuits were filed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Wisconsin and Massachusetts – the MDL will be overseen by a district judge in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
If you or a loved one has developed shingles or suffered serious or life-threatening injury after receiving the Zostavax vaccine, you may be able to file a Zostavax lawsuit. The qualified defective drug attorneys at O’Connor, Acciani & Levy will review your claim and determine the legal options available to you. Your consultation is free and at no obligation to you. You will not be charged for our services unless you receive compensation
HOW DOES ZOSTAVAX WORK?
Zostavax is a shingles vaccine made by the American pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. and was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2006. A single-shot vaccine for adults ages 50 and older, Zostavax helps in boosting the immune system against herpes zoster, also known as shingles, a viral infection that causes a painful rash on the side of the face or body.
This shingles vaccine differs from other vaccines in that it contains a live, weakened form of the varicella-zoster virus, which causes shingles. Zostavax is meant to keep this virus dormant or asleep to help prevent people from getting shingles.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a person’s risk for shingles and chronic pain significantly increases as people get older. That is why the CDC recommends that people ages 60 and older get vaccinated against shingles.
COMMON SIDE EFFECTS OF ZOSTAVAX
After receiving the Zostavax shingles vaccine, many people have reported injection site reactions. This includes redness, itching, swelling, warmth, bruising and pain where the shot was given.
According to the FDA, some of the other side effects that have been reported include:
- Skin rash
- Muscle pain
- Joint pain
However, Zostavax has also been linked to a variety of serious and possibly life-threatening injuries and medical conditions, including:
- Brain damage – This occurs when the shingles virus causes inflammation to the brain. This inflammation is also known as encephalitis, which can lead to neurological disorders. Common symptoms of brain damage can include paralysis, stroke, weakness, and balancing or hearing issues.
- Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) – One of the most common complications that can occur is the shingles virus damaging the nerve fibers in the skin, which can result in chronic pain and possibly lifelong disability.
- Autoimmune disorders – Zostavax has been linked multiple autoimmune disorders, such as Guillian-Barre Syndrome, Meniere’s Disease and Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy. Autoimmune disorders are diseases or conditions that result in your immune system attacking your body by mistake. Guillian-Barre Syndrome is a condition involving the immune system attacking part of the peripheral nervous system. This can cause weakness, paralysis and trouble breathing without help.
- Bell’s Palsy – This occurs when the shingles virus causes inflammation of the nerves that control the facial muscles, resulting in facial paralysis. This can also cause jaw pain, drooling, a decrease in your ability to taste, or changes in the amount of saliva or tears produced.
- Myelitis – This occurs from shingles infections in the spine which causes inflammation of the spinal cord. This can cause pain, numbness, weakness, abnormal sensations (tingling), or even permanent paralysis.
- Vision Loss – The shingles virus can also develop in the eyes and lead to permanent blindness in about 20 to 30 percent of people.
- Hearing loss – The shingles virus can cause the development of a rash on the face or around the ears, causing persistent hearing loss or deafness. This occurs in about 30 percent of people and can lead to temporary or permanent loss of hearing, mostly only in one ear.
The FDA’s Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) has received 42,363 reports and counting of adverse reactions from the Zostavax vaccine. These reports show that hundreds of people have been hospitalized, become disabled, or died as a result of receiving this shingles vaccination.
If you suffered any serious side effects and complications or lost a loved one who received the Zostavax shingles vaccine, you may have legal options. Consult the defective drug lawyers at our firm for a free legal consultation. We may be able to pursue fair compensation against Merck & Co. through a Zostavax lawsuit.
DECLINING SALES OF ZOSTAVAX
In 2006, Zostavax was the only FDA-approved vaccine for the prevention of shingles. This helped drive sales of Zostavax for several years. However, in recent years there has been a decline in Zostavax prescriptions because of the growing number of Zostavax lawsuits which claim the vaccine causes severe side effects.
Sales have also declined because a new shingles vaccine has come on the market and it is being recommended by the CDC over Zostavax. In October 2017, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, an advisory panel to the CDC, officially started recommending the use of a new shingles vaccine over Zostavax. This decision was made only days after the FDA approved a new vaccine called Shingrix, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, for adults ages 50 and older.
While the FDA approved both vaccines to help prevent shingles, there are several key differences between Zostavax and Shingrix. Research has shown that Shingrix is the more effective drug in significantly reducing the development of shingles above 90 percent in patients over the age of 50.
According to the CDC, Shingrix can protect 97 percent of patients in their 50s and 60s and 91 percent of patients in their 70s and 80s from developing shingles. Zostavax has only been found to reduce shingles by 51 percent and reduce the risk of chronic pain or PHN by 67 percent. The CDC now recommends the Shingrix vaccine over Zostavax.
At O’Connor, Acciani & Levy, our attorneys can review your situation in a free legal consultation. We understand just how devastating the injuries from defective drug products can be. This is why we are committed to fighting for your rights and pursuing just compensation.
DO I HAVE GROUNDS FOR A ZOSTAVAX LAWSUIT?
Dozens of Zostavax lawsuits have been filed against Merck & Co. by people who have developed shingles or have been diagnosed with severe complications causing temporary and permanent disability. These lawsuits make various allegations against the company, including:
- Failure to warn patients and/or health care providers about the risk of injuries
- Knowing or having reason to know the vaccine was inherently defective
- Failure to mention the inherent risk of causing the same conditions it was supposed to prevent
- Continuing to sell the vaccine even though the company knew it could cause injury
- Lying about the safety and effectiveness of the drug
If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries after receiving the Zostavax vaccine, you may be entitled to file a Zostavax lawsuit. Our lawyers will review your situation and assess a variety of factors:
- Was the Zostavax vaccine defective?
- Was the Zostavax vaccine known to be unreasonably dangerous?
- Did Merck & Co. know of the risks involved and failed to warn consumers?
- Did negligence play a part in your injury or condition?
- Did you suffer an injury caused by the vaccine?
By filing a Zostavax lawsuit, you may receive compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages.
CONTACT OUR DEFECTIVE DRUG LAWYERS
If you have suffered from side effects after receiving a Zostavax vaccine, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit and obtain compensation. When a company such as Merck & Co. fails to provide consumers with a safe product, it should be held accountable for their negligent actions.
Contact a defective drug attorney in Cincinnati who is here to help victims who have been significantly impacted by this dangerous and defective drug. Learn more about your legal rights with a risk-free, no obligation consultation to review your claim and determine if you are owed compensation for the damages you have suffered.
At O’Connor, Acciani & Levy, we work on a contingency fee basis which means there are no upfront costs or fees involved unless we help you recover the compensation you deserve.