Millions of US children could be susceptible to the Mumps virus, even though they were vaccinated for the contagious childhood disease. Details of a whistleblower lawsuit against vaccine maker Merck accuse the pharma giant of selling a weakened mumps vaccine since 1999 that doesn’t work as well as Merck claims it does.
The lawsuit filed by two former Merck virologists, says Merck manipulated results of clinical tests to show that the vaccine was still effective 95% of the time even though evidence showed that this strain of the vaccine was losing its ability to immunize over time.
“In truth, Merck knows and has taken affirmative steps to conceal — such as by using improper testing techniques, falsifying test data in a clinical trial, and violating multiple duties of government disclosure — that the efficacy rate of Merck’s mumps vaccine is, and has been since at least 1999, significantly lower than this 95% rate.
Steven Krahling and Joan Wlochowski say Merck pressured them to lie about the mumps vaccine’s effectiveness in their research:
“In fact, their Merck superiors and senior Merk managemenet pressured them to participate in the fraud and subsequent cover-up when Relators objected to and tried to stop it.”
The lawsuit says that instead of developing a new, more effective vaccine, Merck juggled lab procedures and test results to make it look like the original vaccine was still working the way it’s supposed to.
“This case is about Merck’s efforts for more than a decade to defraud the United States through Merck’s ongoing scheme to sell the government a mumps vaccine that is mislabeled, misbranded. adulterated and falsely certified as having an efficacy rate that is significantly higher than it actually is.”
The two former Merck scientists filed the lawsuit back in 2010, but the Justice Department unsealed it this week after declining to participate in the litigation.
Merck has an exclusive license to make the mumps vaccine and earns about $1 billion dollars per year on childhood vaccine sales.