GSK to be sued after swine flu vaccine causes narcolepsy in children

Britain’s largest pharmaceutical company is being sued after 38 children developed narcolepsy after taking the swine flu vaccine, The Independent reports.

Scientists from the Health Protection Agency (HPA) found evidence of a link earlier this year between GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) Pandemrix jab and the rare neurological disorder which results in excessive drowsiness and severely disrupted sleeping patterns.

The vaccine was given to about six million children in the UK between 2009 and 2011 and, according to the HPA, could have caused narcolepsy in one in every 55,000 cases.

A spokesperson for GSK said: “Throughout development of our H1N1 flu vaccines there was no data suggesting a potential for an increased risk of narcolepsy among those vaccinated. We take the safety of patients who entrust their health in our medicines very seriously.”

“Innocent victims”

Law firm Hodge Jones & Allen said that the compensation, which is to be paid by the government, could exceed £1m for each of the 38 cases.

Solicitor Peter Todd, who is representing the families, said: “Narcolepsy is a serious, incurable condition requiring a lifetime of medication and management. Many of the activities that most people take for granted can be totally compromised, such as study, work and the ability to have sole care of young children. The innocent victims of this deserve support and provision for their futures.”

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “We are aware of this claim and are working with GlaxoSmithKline to consider it as quickly as practicable.”

With additional source material from: The Independent; The Telegraph; Derby Telegraph

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