Tuesday, 29 May 2018
Department of Health
450. To ask the Minister for Health the clinical research which has been conducted by his Department and or the HSE into claims of links between the swine flu vaccine and conditions such as narcolepsy; the number of claims which have to date been formally lodged against the State and which are being dealt with by the State Claims Agency concerning same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23718/18]
“Investigation of an increase in the incidence of narcolepsy in children and adolescents in 2009 and 2010”, the Final Report of National Narcolepsy Study Steering Committee was published on 19 April 2012. The study, which was commissioned by the Department of Health, found there was a significant 13 fold higher risk of narcolepsy in vaccinated compared to unvaccinated individuals and the absolute increased risk associated with the vaccine was five narcolepsy cases per 100,000 vaccinated children and adolescents. A copy of the report is attached for information.
I cannot comment on individual cases or matters that are the subject of litigation but I can provide background information on this litigation and clarify matters that are already in the public domain.
As of 21 May 2018, letters of claim and/or legal proceedings against the Minister, the Health Services Executive and GlaxoSmithKline Biological SA have been initiated by seventy individuals. The plaintiffs allege personal injury in which they claim the development of narcolepsy resulted from the administration of the H1N1 pandemic vaccine. The management of the cases transferred to the State Claims Agency (SCA) on 15 October 2013 when the Taoiseach signed the National Treasury Management Agency (Delegation of Claims Management Functions) (Amendment) Order 2013. I have been informed by the Agency that cases before the courts in relation to the management of the discovery is the lead case. It would not be appropriate for a Minister to interfere in the court's case management of these claims which are delegated to the SCA for management.
I am continuing to engage with the Minister for Justice and the Minister for Finance on what further improvements can be made to the legal framework governing the management of product liability cases.