Vaccine lawsuit in Japan

This anti-Gardisil lawsuit could prove interesting, as Big Pharma’s political influence is considerably less in Japan:

Sixty-three young women are seeking a combined 945 million yen ($9 million) in compensation in the first mass lawsuit concerning side effects from cervical cancer vaccines.

The women are suing the central government and pharmaceutical companies GlaxoSmithKline Plc and MSD KK.

The lawsuits were filed July 27 in the district courts at Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka. The plaintiffs are aged between 15 and 22.

The women argue they have suffered health problems, such as pain in various parts of their bodies, difficulty in walking and also impaired eyesight, as a result of taking the vaccines that were meant to prevent cervical cancer.

They were mostly in junior or senior high school when they took the vaccines between July 2010 and July 2013.

The vaccines under question are GSK’s Cervarix, which was approved for domestic use in 2009, and MSD’s Gardasil, which was approved in 2011.

The plaintiffs argue that reports had been filed overseas where the two vaccines were in use before Japan about various side effects, including cases of death and serious illness.

On the downside, it looks as if the Japanese government is one of the defendants, which may be a tactical blunder by the plantiffs’ lawyers. But perhaps not; I know very little about the Japanese legal system. However, Japan is very big on taking full responsibility even when the individual is known not to be directly to blame, so I expect the pharmaceutical companies’ customary utilitarian defenses will not go over particularly well.