American Home Targeted in Wrongful Death Suit Over Vaccine Use
Los Angeles, Feb. 1 American Home Products Corp., the No. 5 U.S. drugmaker, is accused
in a lawsuit of making and marketing an oral polio vaccine that caused the
death of a 2 1/2-year-old Los Angeles boy.
In a suit filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Raphaele and Michael
Horwin, the parents of Alexander Roy Horwin, who died in early 1999, accused
American Home of failing to warn about the dangers of Orimune, the company's
oral polio vaccine.
American Home spokesman Doug Petkus said he didn't know whether his company
had received a copy of the suit. ``We would not comment on anything related
to litigation,'' he said.
According to the suit, the vaccine sometimes contains a cancer-causing virus
called Simian Virus-40. The boy was given the vaccine in November 1997, and
was diagnosed with a brain tumor the following August.
After two surgeries to remove the tumor and the administering of
chemotherapy, Alexander died on Jan. 31, 1999. An analysis of the tumor
tissue removed from his brain revealed the presence of Simian Virus-40, the
Madison, New Jersey-based American Home's shares fell 2 1/16 to 45.