More MS news articles for May 2001

GlaxoSmithKline to appeal French multiple sclerosis court ruling

May 3, 2001

LONDON (AFX) - GlaxoSmithKline PLC said it will appeal to the Cour de Cassation -- France's highest appeals court -- against a ruling it must compensate two women who contracted multiple sclerosis after they were given a hepatitis B vaccine.

The vaccine had been manufactured by SmithKline Beecham PLC, which at the end of last year merged with Glaxo Wellcome PLC.

The appeal court yesterday ruled in favour of the women, despite the fact no scientific causal link has been found between the vaccine and the disease.

"The court didn't take into account medical experts and scientific data," a GSK spokesman said.

He said court ignored evidence from its own panel of experts that there was no link. Nor did it give credence to recent findings published in the New England Journal of Medicine ruling out a link.

Gisele Mor, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, said the ruling was significant because the court rejected arguments that there was a need to show a direct and irrefutable link between the vaccine and the neurological disease.

"It ruled that barring scientific evidence, serious, precise and similar evidence was enough proof," said Mor.

She said the court has yet to issue a ruling on the amount of compensation to be paid to the women.

Copyright 2001 AFX News