Merck Failed To Disclose Gardasil Autoimmune Issues Linked to HPV Vaccine, Lawsuit Alleges

Plaintiff was only 13 when she developed Gardasil autoimmune issues after receiving three injections of the HPV vaccine.

Merck deceived federal regulators, hid disastrous side effects and manipulated medical reports to hide autoimmune issues caused by Gardasil HPV vaccines, according to allegations raised in a recently filed product liability lawsuit.

Mackenzie Gardett filed the complaint (PDF) in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina on December 12, indicating that she developed debilitating autoimmune disorders and life-altering side effects after receiving Gardasil injections when she was just 13.

Gardasil was introduced by Merck in 2006, and has been widely used to protect against HPV infections, which can be sexually transmitted and lead to the later development of cervical cancer. The Gardasil injection has been promoted for use among both young girls and boys before sexual activity, and is now recommended by most medical providers, since they believed it carries few, if any, serious side effects.

However, Gardett and a growing number of other individuals are now pursuing Gardasil lawsuits indicate that they have been left with permanent and life-changing autoimmune issues after receiving the HPV vaccination.

Gardasil HPV Vaccine Lawsuit

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Side effects of the Gardasil HPV vaccine have been linked to reports of serious and debilitating autoimmune injuries. Lawyers review cases nationwide.

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According to the complaint, Gardett, of California, was 13 when she received three Gardasil HPV vaccine injections. The shots were advertised as being safe and effective for the prevention of cervical cancer, leading to her mother and doctor deciding to give her the injections.

However, after receiving the HPV vaccine shots, Gardett developed pain in her joints, chronic fatigue, dizziness, fainting, vertigo, heart palpitations, rashes, night sweats, sleep disturbances, sensitivity to light and sound, brain fog, difficulty concentrating, gastrointestinal issues, headaches and hypermobility, which resulted in joint dislocations.

Gardett was diagnosed with Autoimmune Autonomic Dysfunction, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, which have left her with permanent injuries and an inability to live an active life.

The lawsuit indicates Gardett and others who received the vaccine and suffered injuries are the victims of a purposefully misleading campaign by Merck to hide Gardasil autoimmune issues, dating back to its development of the drug. This included inaccurate information reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), and hiding the number of actual Gardasil side effects reported, Gardett claims.

“For example, Merck attributed the death of a young woman from Maryland, Christina Tarsell, to a viral infection. Following years of litigation, a court determined that Gardasil caused Christina’s death,” the lawsuit notes. “There was no evidence of viral infection. Merck invented this story to deceive the public about Gardasil’s safety.”

Gardett presents claims of negligence, failure to warn, manufacturing defect, breach of express warranty, and common law fraud.

December 2023 Gardasil Lawsuit Update

Gardett’s complaint will be consolidated with similar lawsuits over the HPV vaccine that are currently pending in the federal court system, which have been centralized as part of a Gardasil MDL (multidistrict litigation) in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina.

According to a docket report (PDF) issued on December 15, there are currently at least 132 complaints involving Gardasil autoimmune issues pending in the federal court system. There are also a substantial number of additional claims pending in the U.S. Vaccine Court, where families must initially bring a petition seeking compensation under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, before they are able to bring a civil lawsuit if the claim is not resolved within eight months.

Given common questions of fact and law presented in the Gardasil injection lawsuits, U.S. District Judge Robert J. Conrad is presiding over coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings, which is expected to involve a series of early bellwether trials designed to help gauge how juries are likely to respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the litigation.

While the parties work to prepare a group of Gardasil cases for trial, injury lawyers are continuing to investigate and file new lawsuits for individuals who experienced a variety of complications from the HPV vaccine, including:

  • Autoimmune Diseases
  • POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome)
  • Premature Ovarian Failure
  • Premature Menopause
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP)
  • Irregular Heartbeat/Tachycardia
  • Lupus
  • Neurologic Disorder
  • Brain Fog or Chronic Inability to Concentrate
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Chronic Pain
  • Severe Headaches
  • Difficulty Sleeping
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Nerve Damage
  • Menstrual Disorders/Problems
  • Gastrointestinal Issues (food intolerances, nausea, vomiting)

Following coordinated discovery and any bellwether trials in the federal MDL, if the parties fail to reach Gardasil settlements or another resolution for the litigation, Judge Conrad may later establish a process to begin remanding each individual claim back to U.S. District Courts nationwide for individual trial dates in the future.


See If You Qualify for Gardasil Vaccine Compensation

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