by John-Michael Dumais, Childrens Health Defense:
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Thursday sued Pfizer alleging the drugmaker misrepresented the effectiveness of its COVID-19 vaccine and attempted to censor public discussion of the product. Experts claim the suit may succeed in sidestepping the PREP (Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness) Act’s liability shield.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Thursday sued Pfizer alleging the drugmaker made “false, misleading and deceptive claims” about its COVID-19 vaccine and tried to intimidate and censor critics who questioned those claims or cited facts that countered them.
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According to the lawsuit, Pfizer’s marketing claims about the efficacy, duration of protection and ability of its COVID-19 vaccine to prevent transmission violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
The lawsuit also alleges Pfizer cited misleading statistics, concealed negative data and made unsupported statements about efficacy against variants like Delta.
“We are pursuing justice for the people of Texas, many of whom were coerced by tyrannical vaccine mandates to take a defective product sold by lies,” Paxton said in a press release. “The facts are clear. Pfizer did not tell the truth about their COVID-19 vaccines.”
When the failure of its product became apparent, “Pfizer then pivoted to silencing truth-tellers.”
The suit cites complaints made by former U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) official Scott Gottlieb on X (formerly Twitter) about vaccine skeptics.
Paxton is seeking over $10 million in civil penalties, plus injunctive relief barring Pfizer from making claims about vaccine efficacy similar to those challenged in the lawsuit.
The State of Texas just sued Pfizer over numerous false claims it made regarding its COVID-19 vaccine.
-“Count I: Misrepresentations Concerning Relative Risk Reduction.”
-“Count II: Misrepresentations Concerning Durability of Protection.”
-“Count III: Misrepresentations…
— Aaron Siri (@AaronSiriSG) November 30, 2023
Pfizer denied the allegations, telling Forbes it believed the “state’s case has no merit.” Defending its claims about the vaccine as “accurate and science-based,” Pfizer said its vaccine “demonstrated a favorable safety profile in all age groups, and helped protect against severe COVID-19 outcomes, including hospitalization and death,” according to Reuters.
“Pfizer has so far escaped accountability about the potential health problems like myocarditis, thanks to sweeping liability protections granted to pharmaceutical companies” by the PREP (Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness) Act, wrote The Federalist, which argued Paxton’s legal strategy of “fraudulent activity” may succeed because it “falls outside the scope of legal immunity.”
“In my opinion and consistent with existing case law, this suit correctly pleads that state laws such as the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act are not barred by the PREP Act,” Flores said.
“I believe that other suits, including other consumer fraud and shareholder derivative suits, as well as other law and motion pleadings, will greatly benefit from the complaint’s details,” he said. “Depositions and other discovery will produce even more gems.”
Flores said his greatest hope is that information in the Texas suit will prompt the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or the U.S. Attorney General “to finally initiate an enforcement action against the vaccine manufacturers for not being completely forthright with the FDA on the safety and efficacy of the vaccines.”
Under the PREP Act, plaintiffs are prevented from suing vaccine manufacturers unless an enforcement action has been completed, Flores said.