09/22/2020 / By Cassie B.
A lawsuit was filed last week against pharmaceutical firm Merck on behalf of a young man who was injured by their HPV vaccine Gardasil. The suit, which was filed by Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman, seeks punitive damages for their negligence along with liability for failure to warn and a manufacturing defect, common law fraud, breach of warranty and other charges.
The young man at the center of the suit is Zachariah Otto, who was 16 when he received his first dose of the dangerous vaccine. He claims the vaccine has caused life-changing injuries such as autoimmune disease, mast cell activation syndrome, small fiber neuropathy, orthostatic intolerance, dysautonomia, and chronic fatigue syndrome. He also says it caused the autoimmune system disease postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, or POTS, which impacts critical bodily functions and causes symptoms such as fainting, anxiety and migraines.
Otto is now so disabled that he cannot attend college in person or work. He is considered legally disabled and suffers from a slew of health problems. Needless to say, he cannot engage in the activities normal teenagers enjoy, and his mother is serving as his primary caregiver while nurses visit his home to give him IV therapy to help with his autoimmune injuries.
According to his mother, the intense marketing campaign carried out by Merck encouraged her son to get Gardasil; had they known about the serious risks, they would not have gotten the shots.
Otto’s co-counsel, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. of Children’s Health Defense, stated: “Merck fast-tracked Gardasil by presenting misleading data to the FDA and fabricating a health crisis. They claimed they were ‘filling an unmet medical’ need but in reality, the only thing Merck was interested in filling was the $6 billion financial hole created by the Vioxx scandal.”
Other Gardasil victims have similar stories. A 25-year-old former athlete, Jennifer Robi, is now confined to a wheelchair after getting the shot. She got the first one when she was 16, and like Otto, she was also diagnosed with POTS as a result.
Her attorneys say that an adjuvant in the vaccine, amorphous aluminum hydroxyphosphate sulfate, is behind the problem because it can overstimulate people’s immune systems to the point where they start attacking their own organs.
Another victim, Colton Berrett, got his first shot at age 13 before leaving for a Boy Scouts camp on the advice of his doctor in 2014. Just two weeks after getting his third dose, his arms and hands became paralyzed; the paralysis eventually spread to leave him completely paralyzed from the neck down and dependent on a ventilator. In 2018, he removed himself from his ventilator.
Gardasil is often thought of as being for girls given that its stated purpose is preventing cervical cancer. However, Otto’s attorneys claim Merck has been making billions by marketing the shot to the parents of young men and boys, claiming that it is safe and effective despite being neither. Moreover, they allege the company knew about the potential for serious health problems.
In a press release, Otto said: “My life is a constant battle between attempting to improve my life and being held back by my own body’s limitations. Gardasil has turned my body into a prison, an anchor that won’t afford me the ability to live an independent life and one that significantly restricts my ability to grow as a person.”
A lot of parents fail to realize that Merck has never proven Gardasil can prevent cervical cancer or any other type of cancer. In clinical trials, they did not use a true placebo to help mask dangerous side effects. Unfortunately, many Big Pharma firms use this and similar tactics to make dangerous products appear safe and rake in the profits at the expense of public health.
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