US state sues Pfizer over Covid-19 shot
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit against the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer on Thursday, alleging that the company misrepresented the effectiveness of its Covid-19 vaccine and sought to suppress public discussion of the product’s failures.
The lawsuit follows a six-month investigation by Paxton into alleged gain-of-function research by Pfizer and fellow Covid-19 vaccine developers Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.
“Pfizer engaged in false, deceptive, and misleading acts and practices by making unsupported claims regarding the company’s Covid-19 vaccine, in violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act,” Paxton said in a statement, arguing the company had illicitly made billions of dollars in profit.
Paxton specifically challenged Pfizer’s claim that its shot was 95% effective against the novel coronavirus, arguing that this was a statistical trick called “relative risk reduction,” which the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) admitted might mislead consumers by presenting a treatment as more effective than it is. Clinical trial data showed the shot actually decreased the likelihood of contracting Covid-19 by just 0.85%, the lawsuit said.
According to the complaint, the pandemic “got worse” after the majority of Americans were vaccinated against the disease, pointing out that “official government reports showed that in at least some places a greater percentage of the vaccinated were dying from Covid-19 than the unvaccinated.”
The suit also claims that Pfizer “knowingly made false and unsupported claims about vaccine performance against variants, including specifically the so-called Delta variant,” while labeling its critics as “criminals” and accusing them of spreading “misinformation.”
Paxton seeks financial penalties and an injunction preventing Pfizer from continuing to “misrepresent” the effectiveness of its product.
In a statement to the media, a Pfizer spokesperson said that the company is “deeply committed to the well-being of the patients it serves and has no higher priority than the safety and effectiveness of its treatments and vaccines.” It added that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been administered to more than 1.5 billion people worldwide, helping protect them against severe symptoms and showing “a favorable safety profile in all age groups.”
“The company believes that the state’s case has no merit and will respond to the petition in court in due course,” Pfizer said.