A State court system is intrinsically unfair and fallible regardless of the "Vaccine Court."Submitted by Delysid on Thu, 09/26/2013 - 00:33
There is a lot of controversy regarding the Vaccine Court. Let me break it down from my perspective as a staunch libertarian (anarcho-capitalist) and soon-to-be doctor (lifelong student of science). Arguments against the no-fault liability system for vaccines produced by pharmaceutical companies are ubiquitous on the Daily Paul, so I will be the lonely devil's advocate with defense of the vaccine court...
A major problem with strict liability for vaccines is that the general public (including judges and juries) are extremely uninformed in biochemistry and pharmacology. It takes years and enormous effort to truly understand the fields because most of it, especially for the inexperienced, is counter-intuitive. After all, if the principles of pharmacology and physiology were common sense, it wouldn't have taken the cumulative research efforts by millions of scientists worldwide over centuries to figure out what we know so far. It would be very convenient if the naturalistic fallacy was true, and we could give Nobel Prizes to someone who found a mushroom that cures insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, and to another who found a fish that cures cancer. I was being hyperbolic, considering that everything that is discovered is natural, but my point stands that the most important scientific discoveries throughout history were not obvious to the populace.
There is no sector of society more susceptible to unjustified, aggressive litigation than medicine and pharmacology. This is an unfortunate consequence of a strict liability system regarding difficult to understand products. Other fields are also difficult to understand and other products are complicated, but nothing invokes so much passionate hatred or generates more proud ignorance than vaccinology. New age radical left-wingers, far-right religious dogmatists, eternal contrarians, chemophobes, the superstitious and paranoid, and any of the gullible they pull in have all found a common enemy in vaccines. Charismatic propagandists sounding the alarm on a complicated topic like biochemistry (which can already sound terrifying to the layman) creates the perfect storm of panic. Confirmation bias results in the fearful finding connections everywhere. No amount of evidence of the overwhelming safety of vaccines can counteract it.
Prior to the vaccination court (which was lobbied for by the anti-vaccination advocacy group National Vaccine Information Center), pharmaceutical companies were getting litigated to death. Many vaccines were already produced at a loss, and the cost of aggressive litigation led to almost every pharmaceutical company halting vaccine production.
This is a serious health problem for society.
Using a government court system to sue a pharmaceutical company is not free-market. There are situations in which vaccines do cause harm (they are rare and fully admitted by all parties involved and recognized openly by the vaccine court) and this is not the issue at hand. The problem is that people were suing pharmaceutical companies when vaccines were not at fault. The autism claims have been found over and over again to be false and the massive Autism omnibus trial solidified it. Justified wins in court still cost the vaccine-producers money (and poor public image) and losses cost millions.
A no-liability system like a vaccine court protects vaccine-producers from aggressive and unjustified litigation. Is it a fair system? No. But is it fair for people to wrongly sue an honest party into extinction because of fallacious beliefs? Also no.
There is passionate opposition to the ethical problems with the Vaccine Court, but at least in this no liability system decisions regarding biochemistry can be left to experts in the field and not the whims of a layman jury. There will always be alternative medicine advocates attacking vaccines in the name of their pseudoscience beliefs, but they are wrong, which is why they should not be on a jury in a vaccine court.
This is a no-win situation. Unfortunately, an ignorant populace is doomed to an unfair system.