Japanes women to sue over cervical cancer vaccine damage

Japan Times | 13 July 2016

A group of lawyers for 64 women who are suffering health problems from cervical cancer vaccines said Tuesday the victims will file damages lawsuits against the government and two drugmakers that produced the vaccines through four district courts on July 27.

Of the 64 women, 28 will lodge their suit with the Tokyo District Court, six with the Nagoya District Court, 16 with the Osaka District Court and 14 with the Fukuoka District Court, according to the lawyers.

Initially, the victims, mainly teenagers, will demand ¥15 million in damages each, for a total of ¥960 million, and increase the amount later depending on their symptoms. The victims’ health problems include pain all over the body.

The average age of the 28 planning to file their suit with the Tokyo court is 18. They received the vaccination when they were between 11 and 16 years old.

Noting that the cervical cancer vaccines have caused nerve disorders and other problems due to the excessive immune reactions they caused, the lawyers claimed that the government’s approval of the ineffective vaccines was illegal. The drugmakers bear product liability, they added.

Masumi Minaguchi, one of the lawyers, said, “We aim to clarify the responsibilities of the government and the drugmakers through the lawsuits so that the victims can live without anxiety.”

Cervical cancer vaccines were included in routine vaccination programs in April 2013. But the government stopped its recommendations for the use of the vaccines in June the same year after receiving reports on complaints of health damage.

Meanwhile, the Japan Pediatric Society and 16 other institutions in April recommended active use of the vaccines, saying it is clear they are effective in preventing cervical cancer.

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