Thimerosal-Autism Link Rejected by Maryland Court
MADISON, N.J., January 14, 2008 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Wyeth announced today that The Honorable Stuart R. Berger of the Circuit Court for Baltimore City in Baltimore, Maryland, has granted Wyeth's motion to preclude plaintiffs' expert witnesses in an alleged vaccine injury case from testifying that exposure to thimerosal-containing vaccines can cause autism. The court's decision, in the case of Blackwell, et al. v. Sigma Aldrich, Inc., et al., followed a 10-day evidentiary hearing held last August.
Judge Berger found that "thimerosal in vaccines does not cause or contribute to neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism," noting that "it is generally accepted in the relevant scientific community that autism is genetic in origin except in rare instances of prenatal exposures to certain substances at defined periods during pregnancy."
Judge Berger held that plaintiffs had failed to show that the methodologies underlying their expert witnesses' opinions are generally accepted as reliable in the scientific community. He also held that plaintiffs' expert witnesses were not qualified "by knowledge, skill, experience, training or education" or that they could not set forth a sufficient factual basis to support the causation opinions that plaintiffs wished to present to the jury.
"We believe that the court's decision is in complete accord with the overwhelming scientific evidence that there is no link between vaccines and autism. The court correctly applied Maryland law to bar unfounded opinion testimony on scientific issues," says Daniel J. Thomasch, lead trial counsel for Wyeth in this litigation, who is a partner at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.
Wyeth is one of the world's largest research-driven pharmaceutical and health care products companies. It is a leader in the discovery, development, manufacturing and marketing of pharmaceuticals, vaccines, biotechnology products and non-prescription medicines that improve the quality of life for people worldwide. The Company's major divisions include Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Wyeth Consumer Healthcare and Fort Dodge Animal Health.
The statements in this press release that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements based on current expectations of future events and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such statements. These risks and uncertainties include the inherent uncertainty of the timing and success of, and expense associated with, research, development, regulatory approval and commercialization of our products, including with respect to our pipeline products; government cost-containment initiatives; restrictions on third-party payments for our products; substantial competition in our industry, including from branded and generic products; data generated on our products; the importance of strong performance from our principal products and our anticipated new product introductions; the highly regulated nature of our business; product liability, intellectual property and other litigation risks and environmental liabilities; uncertainty regarding our intellectual property rights and those of others; difficulties associated with, and regulatory compliance with respect to, manufacturing of our products; risks associated with our strategic relationships; economic conditions including interest and currency exchange rate fluctuations; changes in generally accepted accounting principles; trade buying patterns; the impact of legislation and regulatory compliance; risks and uncertainties associated with global operations and sales; and other risks and uncertainties, including those detailed from time to time in our periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our current reports on Form 8-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and annual report on Form 10-K, particularly the discussion under the caption "Item 1A, RISK FACTORS." The forward-looking statements in this press release are qualified by these risk factors. We assume no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise.
CONTACT: Media Contact: Douglas Petkus, +1-973-660-5218; Investor Contact:Justin Victoria, +1-973-660-5340, both of Wyeth
Web site: http://www.wyeth.com//
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Posted: January 2008
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