French health ministers suedover hepatitis vaccine

27th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Sept 27 (AFP) - French Health Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy and two of his predecessors in the post have been sued for authorising a vaccine against hepatitis B which plaintiffs say caused multiple-sclerosis in family-members, justice officials said Monday.

PARIS, Sept 27 (AFP) - French Health Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy and two of his predecessors in the post have been sued for authorising a vaccine against hepatitis B which plaintiffs say caused multiple-sclerosis in family-members, justice officials said Monday.  

The suit was filed on Friday at the Court of Justice of the Republic, the only body authorised to try government ministers for alleged offences committed in the carrying out of their functions.  

Douste-Blazy was health minister for a first time in 1994 when a campaign was held to vaccinate 20 million people against hepatitis B.   

He and his successors - Bernard Kouchner and Jean-Francois Mattei - are accused of endangering life, providing false information and non-assistance to a person in peril.  

Lawyer Gisele Mor, who presented the suit, said she was representing five families - including the parents of two children who died after being given the vaccine.  

Allegations that the vaccine might cause multiple-sclerosis resurfaced recently with the publication of a study in the US journal Neurology which claimed there was a statistical link between the two.  

Several writs have already been presented to the French courts, but this is the first targeting ministers.  

The Court of Justice of the Republic was set up in 1993 to try ministers accused of criminal oversight in allowing blood contaminated with the Aids virus be used for transfusions.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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