|Dr. Paul Offit|
Not surprisingly, the questions of liability and litigation
arouse the most heated debates between the lawyers and doctors.
One of the harshest critics of the legal profession’s impact
on vaccine development is Dr. Paul Offit, co-inventor of the rotavirus
vaccine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at
the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, as well as the Maurice
R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology and Professor of Pediatrics
Offit would like to take all vaccine-related injury claims out
of the hands of juries, who generally lack medical expertise and
scientific understanding, and allow a panel of scientists, epidemiologists,
virologists, microbiolgists, clinicians, and statisticians
to decide the cases. Under the National Childhood Vaccine
Injury Act of 1986, plaintiffs can receive compensation for
expenses and damages.
Nonetheless, as Offit
writes, plaintiffs can
still take cases to court
— and therein lies the
rub for him.