Gardasil Vaccine Lawsuits File Over Dangerous Side Effects

October 18, 2022 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Gardasil Vaccine Lawsuits File Over Dangerous Side Effects

Autoimmune Disorders And More Prompt Gardasil Lawsuits Against Merck

Vaccines are an essential form of healthcare which is why their evaluation of safety is taken very seriously. When a medicine like the Gardasil HPV vaccine provides immunity but also can cause severe harmful side effects like autoimmune disorders as well, it calls into question its fitness for medical use and the circumstances in which it found itself approved.  Many children given Gardasil have gone on to develop severe side effects and illnesses that have caused permanent damage. Investigations have revealed that Gardasil was deceptively marketed and portrayed as a safer drug than it actually is by the pharmaceutical company, Merck, which is now facing multiple product liability lawsuits as a result.  Dolman Law Group is now representing clients that have been given the Gardasil vaccine and developed severe side effects and illnesses that have incurred significant damages. Our product liability lawyers specialize in litigation involving defective drugs like Zantac and Risperdal that we have had success in getting clients compensation for.  Dolman Law Group provides free consultations for those considering filing Gardasil lawsuits. To set up your free consultation today either call our office at 727-451-6900 or fill out a contact form on our website. 

What is Gardasil?

Merck and Co. developed Gardasil through the 1990s after its initial invention in 1991 by University of Queensland researchers with the vaccine FDA approved for medical use in the United States in 2006. It is a vaccine intended to provide immunity to certain strains of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and is typically administered to young men and women ages 11-26 in several shots over a few months. While HPV is typically contracted through sexual contact, Gardasil is received by young adults and minors well before any notion of potential sexual activity in order to give the vaccine time to increase its effectiveness.  Human papillomavirus is the most common sexually transmitted infection and has no cure. Infection typically occurs through sexual contact or even just skin-to-skin contact. In most cases, HPV will go away on its own with no serious health consequences or noticeable symptoms.  However, HPV in some cases can cause genital warts and certain cancers, most notably cervical cancer among women when left untreated. The immunization provided by the Gardasil vaccine is marketed as a preventative measure for reducing cervical, genital, oropharyngeal, and anal cancers potentially caused by HPV despite the fact that most HPV cases do not lead to these issues. 

The Relationship Between Gardasil and Negative Side Effects

While Gardasil has been shown to immunize against HPV, the balance of risk versus reward regarding this vaccine has been called into question. While HPV can potentially cause cancer, the vast majority of people that it infects will likely not experience negative effects of this kind. Gardasil can immunize against HPV but the benefit of stopping it in order to combat cancer while there are reports of severe negative side effects may not be worth it. Immunization is important but the benefits of immunization need to greatly outweigh any risks that may exist due to the administration of a vaccine. In Gardasil's case, there have been reports of recipients developing autoimmune disorders as a result of getting this HPV vaccine. The following are the most common autoimmune disorders that have been part of complaints against Gardasil.
  • Guillain–Barré syndrome
  • Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome
  • Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Graves disease
  • Small fiber neuropathy
  • Autoimmune pancreatitis 
In addition to these autoimmune disorders, Gardasil has led some to report the following severe side effects that are considered symptoms of autoimmune issues. 
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Dysautonomia
  • Orthostatic Intolerance 
  • Premature ovarian failure
  • Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Chronic regional pain syndrome
  • Migraines/Severe headaches
  • Persistent gastrointestinal discomfort
  • Widespread pain of a neuropathic character
  • Encephalitis syndrome
  • Autonomic dysfunction
  • Joint pain
  • Brain fog

Studies Regarding the Connection Between Gardasil and Autoimmune Disorders

There is not only the testimony of those that have suffered debilitating symptoms after getting the Gardasil HPV vaccine but also several studies that have been carried out to determine the connection between Gardasil and severe side effects. The University of British Columbia published a study that determined there was indeed a link between Gardasil and a myriad of reports of suspected related autoimmune disorders among recipients.  While there are many reports of people suffering from the onset of autoimmune disorders after the administration of Gardasil, there currently is only preliminary evidence that there is a link between the two instead of concrete science that confirms Gardasil is a direct cause. However, the presence of these reports of Gardasil's connection to the development of autoimmune disorders is enough for those injured by certain side effects to hold Merck accountable for damages they suffered in product liability lawsuits. 

Controversy Regarding Gardasil FDA Approval and Marketing

Part of the controversy surrounding Gardasil is the alleged misrepresentation of Gardasil as a safe vaccine with little risks to outweigh its benefits. Gardasil was fast-tracked for approval by the FDA in just six months but many lawsuits against Merck allege that they downplayed, misrepresented, and even concealed data in order to rush their product on the market. Some parties allege that this ploy was spurred by Merck in an attempt to recoup billions in losses after they were forced to pull their product, Vioxx from the market.  With Gardasil approved in 2006 by the FDA, Merck went on to heavily market the HPV vaccine to the public. HPV is a very common STI that for the most part does not cause serious health consequences yet Merck heavily marketed their product in campaigns designed to scare the populace with the risk of cancer HPV can pose. Merck lauded Gardasil's ability to prevent cancer caused by HPV while not properly informing the public of the risks inherent in the Gardasil vaccine's use. 

Merck Lobbying Efforts to Advance the Utilization of Gardasil Vaccines 

Merck would even go one step further and take their agenda to politicians in power to place their product in a favorable position. Merck utilized lobbyists such as Women in Government and NACCHO to get some state governments to make Gardasil mandatory for school children.  The multibillion-dollar pharmaceutical company spent millions of dollars in financial incentives, campaign contributions, and direct funding to politicians and state institutions with the power to get Gardasil to as many children as possible and present their product as a necessary step to stop a problem that they portrayed as direr than the reality. 

Liability For Gardasil Vaccine-Caused Injuries

A product liability lawsuit is a form of civil lawsuit in which a plaintiff injured by a defective product seeks compensation from the party liable for the damages they suffered as a result of the defective product in question. The defect could be due to design, manufacturing, or even due to issues with the labeling of the product.  In the case of Gardasil, its makers, New Jersey-based multibillion-dollar pharmaceutical company, Merck is considered liable for damages caused by the HPV vaccine. Consumers have the right to expect a reasonably safe product when it is used as intended and the makers of these products owe a duty of care to anyone who can be harmed by their products when their negligence leads to a dangerous defect The lawsuits that have been filed against Gardasil's makers are doing so not purely on the basis that the vaccine has harmful side effects that injured them but also because Merck failed to appropriately inform consumers of the potential harm their product can pose. The many Gardasil lawsuits filed against Merck claim that the pharmaceutical company was aware of the risks posed by Gardasil yet downplayed and misrepresented information that called the safety of their product into question while pushing the product nationwide to children. 

Gardasil Lawsuits and the Vaccine Act

A barrier some Gardasil lawsuits are facing is the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA). This act passed in 1986 created a no-fault compensation program for children that suffer injuries as a result of vaccines.  Several lawsuits filed against Merck because of Gardasil injuries were dismissed by judges because they were considered partially preempted under the Vaccine Act. While the courts struck down some of these lawsuits, they did so “without prejudice” which means that the plaintiff has the opportunity to file another lawsuit via another approach.  The issue with these lawsuits was that they were filed over design defects in the Gardasil vaccine which falls under the purview of the Vaccine Act. However, claims filed because of Merck's failure to warn consumers of potential harmful side effects related to Gardasil are an avenue around the Vaccine Act. 

A Brief History of Gardasil Litigation

Gardasil has been harming people for years with many having suffered when they received the HPV vaccine as children and have grown up dealing with the consequences of their complications. Some have been more unfortunate and have passed away due to the damage inflicted by Gardasil-related autoimmune disorders.  The first lawsuit filed against Merck over Gardasil-related injuries was by Jula Balasco in Rhode Island federal court on August 19, 2020. Balasco received the Gardasil HPV vaccine in August 2014  when she was 13 and the second dose in October 2014. After receiving the vaccine injection she reported experiencing flu-like symptoms that would worsen significantly over time. In November 2016 she was diagnosed with several autoimmune conditions, including orthostatic intolerance, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, and fibromyalgia.

More Lawsuits Filed Against Merck

After this initial lawsuit was filed on August 19, 2020, others that suffered similarly as a result of Gardasil joined in litigation against Merck as well. 
  • In May 2022 34 lawsuits filed in 25 different federal district courts were consolidated by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation together under one motion filed by their lawyers to create a new multi-district litigation Gardasil HPV vaccine class action lawsuit. This new class action known as In re: Gardasil Prod. Liab. Lit., MDL No. 3036 - would be assigned to Judge Robert Conrad Jr. in the Western District of North Carolina.
  • A conference would also be planned at this time for October 2022 where the selection of attorneys to serve on the plaintiff's leadership committee would be carried out. This committee will be tasked with representing the interests of the many Gardasil MDL class action plaintiffs and making decisions on their behalf. The conference is planned to also address the creation of master pleading forms and a discovery plan.
It is anticipated that there will be many more plaintiffs coming forward with stories of how Gardasil has negatively affected their lives by causing debilitating side effects after they were injected with the vaccine. The state of this lawsuit as of the time of this article's writing is still fairly early in its litigation process and the full extent of this HPV vaccine's harm and the level of potential compensation available to plaintiffs through Gardasil lawsuits is still up in the air. It is estimated that the lawsuits against Merck will be valued very highly due to the fact that the damages both economic and non-economic in nature inflicted by autoimmune disorders are severe and require significant compensation to cover everything from medical bills, lost earning potential, reduced quality of life, and the pain and suffering Gardasil has caused.

How The Defective Drug Attorneys of Dolman Law Can Assist You With a Gardasil Vaccine Lawsuit 

Filing a lawsuit against a corporation like Merck because of damages inflicted by Gardasil side effects takes resources and knowledge you likely do not have. Seeking experienced legal counsel is not just recommended but a necessity if you wish to take your lawsuit seriously. Dolman Law Group provides specialized legal representation to those that have suffered severe injuries not just because of defective products but specifically defective pharmaceutical drugs. Our defective drug lawyers have successfully assisted clients with pursuing compensation for injuries caused by notable defective medications and drugs such as Risperdal, Elmiron, Zantac, and more. Dolman Law Group has built a reputation based on quality over quantity. We emphasize taking fewer cases that we can focus on to provide unparalleled legal representation. Dolman Law Group's Gardasil lawyers will not just help you with legal advice and represent you in court. Our firm works closely with clients through every step of the process while keeping them appraised of the progress of their cases. While we offer the resources and repute of a large personal injury firm, we ensure that our clients get the personalized service and attention expected of a smaller personal injury law office.

Contact Dolman Law Group for Help With Your Gardasil Lawsuit

Dolman Law Group is a personal injury law firm devoted to representing those that have suffered at the hands of negligent companies such as Merck. Our product liability attorneys are reputed for their diligence and passion in assisting plaintiffs that have suffered because of entirely avoidable problems with defective drugs.  You do not have to accept the difficult circumstances Gardasil injuries have caused you and your family. Consider contacting our award-winning Gardasil lawyers about how they can help you ensure that Merck sees consequences for the damage they have caused.  You can contact Dolman Law Group about a free consultation on your Gardasil case at 727-451-6900 or by filling out a contact form on our website. 


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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