Shingles Vaccine Maker, Merck, Sued In Federal Court


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Merck and Co. are being sued over Zostavax, their vaccine which is marketed as the “shingles vaccine” and is the source of millions in marketing and advertising. Following several cases against Merck whereas individuals claim injury from taking Zostavax, there are said to be even more cases in the works. The plaintiffs have sued in Pennslyvania federal courts.

“I think Merck has failed terribly … to warn about the very serious side effects and the failure of the vaccine to do what they claim it does,” attorney Marc Bern told FiercePharma.

Bern, founding partner at Marc J. Bern & Partners, said his firm has “thousands of complaints” yet to be filed in Philadelphia, with the injuries running “the gamut from contracting shingles as a result of the vaccine all the way to serious personal injuries such as blindness in one eye, individuals who have serious paralysis in their extremities, brain damage, all the way to death.”

In a statement, Merck said it “stands behind the demonstrated safety and efficacy” of the shot, which is licensed in 50 countries.

“Nothing is more important to Merck than the safety of our medicines and vaccines,” a spokesperson told FiercePharma. She said the company has distributed more than 36 million doses of the shot since its 2006 approval. Before winning a FDA nod, Zostavax’s safety and effectiveness were studied in more than 30,000 patients, and a CDC committee continues to recommend its use, she pointed out.


“The company has continuously provided appropriate and timely information about Zostavax to consumers and to the medical, scientific and regulatory communities,” according to Merck’s statement.

This story breaks just days following Dr. Sherri Tenpenny’s latest column, The Full Story About Zostavax, The Shingles Vaccine, whereas she breaks down the dangers and warnings related to the vaccine.

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