Two pending lawsuits in a Pennsylvania federal court allege that GlaxoSmithKline, LLC’s (“GSK”) Lyme disease vaccine LYMERix causes treatment-resistant Lyme arthritis. Included in the causes of action are fraud, negligent misrepresentation, negligence, unjust enrichment and breach of warranty.
The actions together allege that the Plaintiffs, who were inoculated with LYMERix in the late 90s, were subsequently diagnosed with the arthritic condition. It is suggested by the Plaintiffs that individuals with a specific genetic blood trait are more likely to develop the condition, and that GSK was aware of the drug’s risks when it first initiated sales in 1998; despite these risks, GSK marketed the drug until it was pulled in 2002. Specifically, the Complaint alleges that “Defendants knew of the subject product’s defective and unreasonably dangerous nature . . . but continued to design, develop, manufacture, market, distribute and sell it so as to maximize sales and profits at the expense of the health and safety of the public.”
The Plaintiffs maintain that express representations of the drug’s safety and efficacy were made by GSK, even after adverse reactions were apparent. Moreover—and of particular note—the Complaint further alleges that GSK attempted to demonstrate LYMERix’s safety by inoculating arthritis-prone mice with the drug’s active ingredient while they were acutely aware that the mice did not possess the blood trait that was known to interact with the ingredient in humans. In other words, as the Complaint boldly asserts, “the experiment was meaningless.”