Health Law

DOJ Labels Autism Claims ‘Junk Science’


A Justice Department official said claims that a vaccine additive causes autism are junk science, in opening arguments before a vaccine court yesterday.

“Unfortunately, after five years, you’ll find a signal lack of support for their contentions,” said Vincent J. Matanoski, an assistant director in the department’s civil division. The New York Times covered the arguments.

The lawyer representing the plaintiffs in the test case, Thomas Powers of Portland, Ore., faced audience members rather than the judges. The case was brought on behalf of Michelle Cedillo, who has autism, and her parents. The 12-year-old girl entered the chair in a wheelchair, hitting herself repeatedly and making loud noises.

“Numerous obstacles have been placed in the path of the petitioners seeking that fair and generous compensation that they are entitled to,” Powers said.

The case was picked from more than 4,800 claims filed with the special court set to compensate individuals harmed by vaccines.

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