A Colorado man, who received a HPV cancer vaccine when he was 16, filed a lawsuit in Orange County Wednesday against the manufacturer, Merck, alleging he sustained significant, lingering injuries related to the medication.
Zachariah Otto, 24, received his first Gardasil shot in Orange County, according to his attorneys.
Otto said side effects he suffered because of the vaccine have left him unable to hold down a job or to physically go to college classes.
The lawsuit alleges Merck negligently failed to warn of dangerous side effects.
“Most people think Gardasil is for girls, but since 2009, Merck has made billions in profit by marketing the HPV vaccine to the parents of boys and to young men,” Otto’s attorney Nicole K.H. Maldonado said.
“Through its advertising, Merck sold parents on the idea that Gardasil is a safe and effective tool to stop the spread of HPV and prevent cervical cancer. But Merck knew that Gardasil was neither safe nor effective at preventing cervical cancer, and worse, the company knew that Gardasil could cause a host of serious health issues.”
Said Otto’s co-counsel Robert F. Kennedy Jr.: “Merck fast-tracked Gardasil by presenting misleading data to the FDA and fabricating a health crisis. They claimed they were `filling an unmet medical’ need but in reality, the only thing Merck was interested in filling was the $6 billion financial hole created by the Vioxx scandal.”
Otto received the vaccination in 2012 and again in 2014. He sustained pain, headaches, cold symptoms, rashes, joint and ear pain and enhanced lymph nodes in his neck, his attorneys said.
Otto received a third injection in 2015 and two days later his knees buckled at work and he had to call his mother to come get him, the attorneys said.
Otto’s health continued to spiral down with a host of medical issues and in 2015 he tested positive for postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, an autoimmune disorder, the attorneys said.
A message left with Merck seeking a response to the allegations was not immediately returned.
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