Scientific Fraud in the Debate Over Immunization

Vol. 10 No. 1

By

Christine Grant, an attorney and Past Chair of the ABA Section of Science & Technology Law, is a former Commissioner of Health and Senior Services, State of New Jersey, and a former executive in the pharmaceutical and vaccine industries.

Few cases question the value or the safety of vaccines. However, those that do raise questions have a continuing adverse impact on the public’s confidence in the effort to maintain high levels of immunization against serious childhood and adult diseases. The most controversial example in the last 20 years is the unproven allegation that the measles vaccine triggered autism in young children. This example goes beyond skepticism about science to show actual harm to the enterprise of immunization. What should lawyers do when they confront what appears to be intentional, or even unintentional, fraudulent scientific data?

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