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Indemnity for flu vaccine company should be probed – Ó Caoláin

19 April, 2012 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

The Sinn Féin health and children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has called for an investigation into the indemnity deal between the last government and the multinational manufacturer of a flu vaccine which has caused a sleeping disorder in some 30 children in Ireland.

Speaking after it emerged that a Department of Health report is to show a link between the swine flu vaccine Pandemrix and narcolepsy in children, Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“The confirmation of the link between Pandemrix and the sleeping disorder narcolepsy in some 30 Irish children, and perhaps more, is very worrying. This issue has been around since the middle of last year and it is a pity that is has taken so long for the report to be completed.

“The Minister for Health James Reilly needs to ensure full support for all children affected by this, including long-term medical cards.

“There needs to be an immediate investigation into the granting by the last government of an absolute indemnity to a multi-billion-euro international drugs company, Glaxo-Smith-Kline, the manufacturers of Pandemrix.

“When the Joint Committee on Health and Children met on 8 September 2009 to address the swine flu issue, I and other members, including James Reilly TD, then in opposition, expressed concern about the indemnity granted to GlaxoSmithKline. When I asked Minister Reilly in September 2011 if the nature of that indemnity was such that GlaxoSmithKline will be legally absolved from any accountability for the drug causing narcolepsy in Irish children, he did not reply. We need an investigation of this and full answers from the Minister.”

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