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DTP Vaccine Litigation, 1988

WALTER A. ORENSTEIN, MD
Am J Dis Child. 1990;144(5):517. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1990.02150290011002.
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Sir.—Since 1986, the Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Ga, have maintained surveillance of personal injury lawsuits filed against three manufacturers of diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and pertussis (DTP) vaccines.1,2 Data for calendar year 1988 have now become available and show that the number of suits filed has continued to decrease from the peak of 255 suits in 1986 (Table 1). The 114 suits filed in 1988 represent a 55% decrease from 1986. While the total amount claimed in lawsuits specifying an amount was similar in 1987 and 1988, the average amount claimed per suit increased substantially to $19.75 million. However, this figure is considerably less than the peak of $46.54 million in 1984.

The decrease in lawsuits has been associated with a stabilization in the prices for DTP vaccine (Table 2). In 1982, public sector providers paid approximately 15 cents per dose. These prices peaked at $9.63 per dose between

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