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Patients Launch GSK Compensation Bid

A Group Of British People Who Developed Health Problems After Receiving A Swine Flu Vaccine Have Launched Legal Action


A group of Britons that developed narcolepsy after they received the Pandemrix swine flu vaccine have launched legal action against GlasoSmithKline (GSK), its developer.

Claimants were diagnosed with the neurological condition after the swine flu scare in 2009 and although around six million people in the UK were given the vaccination programme, a Health Protection Agency report has claimed some risks were not known.

Research carried out by the body showed that the chance of developing narcolepsy, which normally presents through a persistent urge to fall asleep throughout the day, is between one in 52,000 and 55,000.

These forecasts would mean more than 100 people would be affected by the condition across the UK, far more than the 38 involved in the legal dispute.

Lawyers representing the victims predict compensation could be around £1 million per sufferer and the extent of the litigation is now so widespread a new European Alliance of campaigners has called on the EU to conduct a public inquiry into why these problems were not predicted.

It is unclear who will foot any potential compensation bill, with some predicting that it will be the taxpayer, rather than GSK, that will face the majority of any costs incurred.

A lawyer who attended a meeting of European Alliance lawyers in Stockholm, said: "I did not expect GSK to invoke their entitlement to be indemnified by the UK government. However, they have done so immediately after the UK government itself admitted a link between the vaccine and narcolepsy.

"This is a quite unprecedented situation. Narcolepsy is a serious, incurable condition requiring a lifetime of medication and management."

Anyone who thinks they may have developed narcolepsy as a result of being given the Pandemrix vaccine should see their family doctor as soon as possible.