A young woman’s family, who took legal action against the State and drugs company GSK in relation to her contracting the sleep disorder narcolepsy after being administered with the Pandemrix vaccin expressed their wished that that the State decision to settle their action will clear the path for around 100 other pending claims over narcolepsy to be settled with proper compensation being paid to claimants.
The family also has slated as “a national scandal” the millions of Euro in taxpayers money spent defending the case by the State. Their daughter, Aoife Bennett (27), who was given the vaccine when she was just a child during the height of the Swine Flu pandemic fears in 2009, settled her case with the Department of Health and Health Service Executive (HSE). The confidential settlement is with no an admission of liability.
During the action at the High Court the Judge was informed that that key data on the vaccine was not included in Irish medication reports because it was thought of as “useless.” However, that data showed that Pandemrix had a ten times greater danger for serious side effects than a sister vaccine created by the same company.
The medical negligence compensation settlement for the student teacher was awarded against the Department of Health and the HSE. GSK and the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) were not included in the settlement and will not pay anything in relation to costs or compensation in relation to the action.
Aoife’s mother Mary Bennett remarked: “It is a national disgrace that millions of taxpayers money has been wasted in defending my case and other similar cases against children and young people who do not have any right to legal aid.” She added that the public were not, at the time, made aware that there were safety concerns over the vaccine – and she called for a thorough review of the drug regulatory system in Ireland.
The Bennett family also criticized the manner in which they were treated over the past 10 years by the State. Ms Bennett had broken down while giving evidence in the High Court. Her parents Pat and Mary remarked: “The behaviour of the defendants prior to and during the trial has been exceptionally hostile. Further, the State Claims Agency have taken a very adversarial approach in dealing with Aoife’s case. The aggressive cross examination of Aoife, and us as parents, over four days is something I hope will not be replicated for other families. Today, Aoife has succeeded in recovering compensation and her case has been vindicated. However, no money will ever compensate Aoife for a lifetime of living with the incurable disability of narcolepsy and cataplexy.”