HPV vaccine injury claim to be heard in federal court

Nov. 8, 2013 at 3:26 PM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- A claim filed by two sisters for injuries suffered from injections of the human papillomavirus vaccine Gardasil will be heard in federal court in Washington.

Madelyne Meylor, 20, and Olivia Meylor, 19, of Mount Horeb, Wis., allege that Gardasil caused both of them to suffer premature ovarian failure and left them almost certainly unable to get pregnant, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

Health officials recommend three doses of Gardasil or Cervarix, another HPV vaccine, for boys and girls ages 11 and 12. The vaccines protect against cervical cancer, throat cancer, genital warts and other conditions caused by the human papillomavirus.

Madelyne was vaccinated with Gardasil at the age of 13, while Olivia received three doses of Gardasil by age 15, the sisters said. Both girls were diagnosed with premature ovarian failure when they were 16 years old, respectively. They also have suffered premature menopause, they said.

Tests have ruled out genetic causes in both sisters and doctors have confirmed that Olivia has no chance of getting pregnant and Madelyne has less than a 5 percent chance, the sisters said.

"I've always wanted a huge family, but I don't know if that will be possible," Madelyne said.

"People should look into the vaccine more and see if the benefits outweigh the risks," Olivia said.

Theirs is the first lawsuit filed the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program to go to trial, said the Meylors' lawyer, Mark Krueger.

The vaccine injury program has settled 68 complaints made against the HPV vaccine for a total of at least $5.9 million since it was approved in 2006, the federal government and Judicial Watch, a nonpartisan foundation, said.

Meanwhile, Merck, which makes Gardasil, said evidence does not link its product to premature ovarian failure, which Merck refers to as premature ovarian insufficiency, or POI.

"Merck has reviewed the post-licensure reports of POI after administration of Gardasil and has concluded that the evidence does not support a causal relationship to the vaccine," the company said in a statement. "The cases have been reported to the U.S. FDA and other regulatory agencies. There have been no reports of POI in the clinical trials with Garsadil."

The case will be heard Thursday and Friday next week.

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