- Alert: Court of Justice gives ruling on national evidentiary rules in relation to allegedly defective vaccine (N.W, L.W, C.W v Sanofi Pasteur MSD SNC, Caisse primaire d’assurance maladie des Hauts-de-Seine, Carpimko)
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Commercial analysis: The Court of Justice of the European Union has given a preliminary ruling on the interpretation of Council Directive 85/374/EEC (the Product Liability Directive) as regards national evidentiary rules in connection with a case that arose after a gentleman was given three injections of hepatitis B vaccine and later developed multiple sclerosis (MS). A claim was begun in the French courts that the short period between the vaccination and the appearance of the first symptoms of MS, in conjunction with the lack of any personal or family history of the disease, were such as to give rise to presumptions as to the existence of a defect in the vaccine and as to there being a causal link between the injection of the vaccine and the occurrence of the MS. The matters referred to the Court of Justice focused on Article 4 of the Product Liability Directive which provides that the injured person shall be required to prove the damage, the defect and the causal relationship between defect and damage. The Consumer Protection Act 1987 implements the Product Liability Directive into UK law and is to be construed in accordance with the provisions of that directive.
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