Woman Claims Harm From Gardasil Vaccine
By Barbara Wallace
LOS ANGELES (CN) - A woman claims in Los Angeles County Superior Court that the Gardasil vaccines she received as a teenager left her with a heart condition and nerve pain.
Jennifer Robi sued Merck & Co. Inc. and Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. for fraud and deceit, negligence, product liability and failure to warn and inform; and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, Southern California Permanente Group and three Kaiser doctors for medical malpractice and medical battery.
Robi, born Nov. 15, 1994, had three Gardasil vaccines administered at Kaiser between March 2010 and January 2011, according to the lawsuit.
Gardasil is intended to protect women against strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) which can cause precancerous lesions, according to the complaint.
"These precancerous lesions are typically diagnosed through pap smears, and then removed through medical procedures. However when undiagnosed they can cause cervical cancer in females as well as other diseases such as genital warts," the complaint states.
Robi's parents decided to have her vaccinated based on Merck's marketing, she says.
"These marketing practices were initially directed at and targeted females aged 9 through 26 years," the complaint states. "To promote its sales and profits, defendants Merck, Does 1 through 25, and each of them, intentionally, wrongfully and deceitfully did manipulate and utilize, to the detriment of potential recipients of the Gardasil vaccine, the existing general and universal fear by individuals and the general public of cancerous disease processes, by repeatedly stating, representing, urging and implying that medically to prevent cervical cancer and its consequences it was necessary for young girls to be administered the Gardasil vaccine," it says.
This marketing left out certain details, according to the lawsuit — namely, that Gardasil was at the time only known to be effective for five years, that it was only effective against certain strains of HPV and that it was not effective once someone was already infected, according to the complaint. Robi contends that the risk of precancerous lesions caused by HPV is "minimal," that they are treatable and that cervical cancer resulting from them also is treatable.
Merck's marketing program also left out potential risks of the vaccine, she says.
Within two months of her last Gardasil shot, Robi was having symptoms of Postural orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) and small fiber neuropathy, according to the complaint. Robi blames the Gardasil for her conditions.
POTS is a chronically fast heartbeat upon standing up, which can lead to fainting and fatigue, according to the medical website WebMD.com.
Small fiber neuropathy is a nerve condition that can have symptoms of shooting or burning pain, according to a website by the National Institutes of Health.
Jennifer Robi seeks general, special and exemplary damages and costs of suit. She is represented by Sol Ajalat of Ajalat & Ajalat in North Hollywood.