The National Childhood Vaccine Act
Sheft, Mark A.
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CitationThe National Childhood Vaccine Act (1994 Third Year Paper)
AbstractPrior to passage of the National Childhood Vaccine Act in November 1986, manufacturers could be held strictly liable in tort for vaccine-related injuries, a lamentable situation which allegedly caused increasing prices, discontinuation of childhood vaccine production, and a reduction in vaccine innovation.2 To solve this "liability crisis"--which industry officials, legal commentators, and policymakers contended had plagued the vaccine industry since the late 1960s--Congress enacted a law which eschews state tort law as a compensatory mechanism, and instead shifts the product liability burden from manufacturers to a public National Vaccine Injury Compensation Fund. While this innovation fairly compensates the innocent victims of our compulsory vaccination laws, it assumed that the opponents of strict liability had correctly explained why vaccines were being removed from the market; if this assumption was erroneous, the pre-existing manufacturer tort liability regime should have been left intact, thereby preserving market incentives for investment in product innovation and additional safety.
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