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Vaccine liability law changes proposed by Democrats

[JURIST] Congressional Democrats on Wednesday introduced legislation that would roll back some of the limited liability provisions for vaccine and drug manufacturers in times of public health or bioterror emergency. A group of 21 US Senate and House Democrats led by Sen. Eedward Kennedy (D-MA) [official website] said in a letter [text] describing the proposed Responsible Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act of 2005 that current provisions were too broad and could be abused by manufacturers to avoid liability despite gross negligence or criminal action. They also said provisions defined health emergencies too broadly and left injured people with no compensation.

Limiting liability for vaccine and drug manufacturers has been strongly supported by President Bush [JURIST report] and by Sen. Bill Frist. The current law was passed as part of HR 2863 [bill summary], a defense bill passed in December 2005. Reuters has more.

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