Two opposition TDs, Marc MacSharry and Clare Daly, urged the Government to “do the right thing” and offer mediation or a redress scheme over the swine flu vaccine controversy.
Sligo TD Mr MacSharry warned that the State’s stance to date has been outrageous and said that “the State Claims Agency (SCA) has spent over €2m rigorously defending discovery (of documents) in these cases alone”.
The Government failure to address the controversy has been described as “extraordinary” in light of major international studies, including an Irish report, which uncovered possible links between Pandemrix and the sleep disorder narcolepsy.
The Government fully indemnified the drug in 2009 to fast tack it into service, as happened in many other European countries. The drug manufacturers GSK insisted upon this. This meant that the Irish taxpayer became liable for any of the possible side effects from Pandemrix.To date the State has fully contested all compensation claims in relation to the drug.
There is currently a significant test case is now before the High Court. This may lead to up to to 100 further cases.
Mr McSharry TD has called on Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Health Minister Simon Harris to immediately introduce a round of mediation talks to those who suffered due to the side effects of the drug.
In tandem with these calls campaign group Sound (Sufferers of Unique Narcolepsy Disorder) said it is important proper that proper supports are given to children and young adults battling narcolepsy due to the side effects of the drug.
Co-founder of Sound Tom Matthews said “Sound has always stated that it is not anti-vaccine, and that the Pandemrix scandal was a result of the State rushing to get whatever vaccine it could and that it was acting with the best intentions. We believe it is way past time for the State to finally step up on this issue and to fulfil the duty of care it is morally bound to provide to these children and young adults.”