A lawsuit filed in federal court on September 4 claims that a North Carolina patient developed vision loss after receiving the shingles vaccine Zostavax.
The patient was inoculated with Zostavax in 2016 and was treated for zoster related vision loss afterwards, according to the lawsuit, which names Merck & Co., Merck Sharp and Dohme Corp. and McKesson Corp. as defendants.
The lawsuit accuses the defendants of intentionally concealing material information from the public, intentionally misrepresenting material information and intentionally downplaying the “serious threat to public safety” that Zostavax presented. The lawsuit alleges the defendants intentionally concealed that Zostavax has not been demonstrated to be safe or effective, is not effective at permanently preventing shingles and carries serious risks and dangers.
The lawsuit notes that “shingles was a noted occurrence with Zostavax use during Zostavax’s clinical trials.”
The lawsuit seeks to recover damages based on numerous counts, including:
Negligence: The lawsuit argues that the defendants had a duty to exercise ordinary and reasonable care in manufacturing and selling a product which was not dangerous, as well as a duty to warn others of the dangers associated with their product. The lawsuit argues that the defendants failed in these duties because they manufactured and sold a dangerous product and failed to warn about the product’s dangers.
Products Liability – Design and Manufacturing Defect: The lawsuit argues that Zostavax is unreasonably dangerous to consumers when used as intended because of a design defect or a manufacturing defect.
Products Liability – Failure to Warn: The lawsuit claims that the defendants knew or should have known that Zostavax could cause vision loss and failed to warn about this danger. The lawsuit specifically notes that the defendants knew or should have known that Zostavax wasn’t effective at preventing shingles four years post-inoculation and failed to warn about this.
Breach of Express and Implied Warranty: The lawsuit argues that the defendants expressly and impliedly warranted that Zostavax was safe and effective for protection against shingles when, in fact, it was not.
Unjust Enrichment: The lawsuit argues that the plaintiff paid for Zostavax to obtain safe and effective protection against shingles, yet failed to receive safe and effective protection from shingles in exchange for this payment, constituting unjust enrichment of the defendants.
Previous Zostavax lawsuits have been filed over numerous serious injuries, including shingles hearing loss, vision loss and death. Acute transverse myelitis, fatal liver failure, brain damage, limb paralysis, seizures and acute retinal necrosis have also been reported with regards to Zostavax patients.