Family sue firm over triple jab

Western Daily Press 29/01/2001

A COTSWOLD family is suing a pharmaceutical company over an MMR vaccination they say left their daughter autistic.

Lucy Launchbury, aged six, had the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) jab at a doctor's surgery in Cirencester when she was 15 months old.

Within six weeks the happy and healthy tot was diagnosed as autistic, says the family.

Now her parents, Dave and Julie, are suing the makers of the vaccine, Aventis Pasteur MSD Ltd, for damages.

Mr Launchbury, who works at Tesco in Cirencester, said: "She was developing normally until 15 months and then she had the jab. At 16 months we were taking her to the doctor because of the changes we could see in her. She was in her own world."

He said after Lucy had been seen by three doctors she was finally diagnosed as autistic.

"We feel very bitter, " he said. "We feel there has not been enough research or tests of the vaccination.

"It's not the compensation that's important, it's the truth."

Mrs Launchbury said parents should be given the choice of having individual vaccinations for the three diseases, which can have serious complications.

But Mike Watson, medical director of Aventis Pasteur, said all the evidence showed the MMR vaccine did not cause autism.

"It must be very difficult for the parents of a child with autism who developed it after the vaccine but there is no evidence to support a link, " he said.

The Launchburys, who have another daughter, Rebecca, aged nine, have been told by their solicitor there could be action on their case in March.

A second Cotswold couple, Paul and Alison Krisson, of Fallows Road in Northleach, are already taking action against Smith Kline Beecham and Smithkline and French Laboratories Ltd in Brentford, Middlesex.

They claim their son, Oliver, aged nine, developed co-ordination problems after he had his MMR vaccination when he was 13 months old.

They are one of 400 families suing Glaxo Smith Kline.

The Government launched a 3 million advertising campaign earlier this month to allay fears about the jab and its alleged connections to autism and Crohn's disease.

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