Drug Company Sued for Autism
That argument is now in a federal court and the Sprinkle family decided to sue over vaccine mercury as well.
When Brendon Sprinkle stopped talking at three, his mother thinks she knows why. Half a year before, Brandon received a series of shots that were supposed to protect him from diseases. As a mom, Kristie Sprinkle worried about a connection.
"It upsets me because the public has been told for many many years that these children absolutely have to have these vaccinations," Sprinkle said.
The Sprinkles are one of many families in the United States who believe a mercury based preservative in children's vaccines is the root cause of autism. Nearly 5,000 families filed claims in an unconventional lawsuit.
"For the United States court system to even consider the fact that it can be a cause no matter what the government health agencies have said, is a gigantic step in the right direction," Sprinkle said.
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services official Sue Denny says there is a lot of scientific evidence that disagrees with Sprinkle.
"There has been a lot of studies, there have been a lot of panels that have looked into this issue, and they can find no relationship between Timerosal and autism," Denny said.
A ruling in favor of families can change how children receive vaccinations.
"The other thing people need to remember is that if children are not vaccinated they are going to be vulnerable to diseases and the diseases that they are vulnerable to are for the most part quite dangerous," Denny said.
But for Sprinkle, a win in court could change the vaccine industry.
"If even one case is solved in favor of the families, this is really going to open up the opportunities for further testing and further research," Sprinkle said.
It's research that could help kids like Brandon and ease the worry for thousands of families across the country. The U.S. Court of Federal Claims is hearing its first case where vaccines are blamed for autism, and a ruling could take a year.