AUSTIN: Texas attorney general Ken Paxton sued Pfizer Inc for allegedly misrepresenting the effectiveness of the company’s Covid-19 vaccine.
The pharmaceutical giant used misleading statistics to promote the vaccine and sought to “intimidate” anyone who questioned the product, according to the lawsuit filed in a Texas state court Thursday.
The conservative Republican is seeking more than US$10 million in fines and a court order barring Pfizer from speaking publicly about the efficacy of its vaccine.
“We are pursuing justice for the people of Texas, many of whom were coerced by tyrannical vaccine mandates to take a defective product sold by lies,” Paxton said in a statement.
The lawsuit follows a probe launched by his office in May into three major drug companies related to claims about the effectiveness of the vaccine. Paxton has been a vocal opponent of Covid safety mandates since the onset of the pandemic.
Pfizer has “no higher priority than the safety and effectiveness of its treatments and vaccines,” a spokesperson for the New York-based company said in an emailed statement.
“The representations made by the company about its Covid-19 vaccine have been accurate and science-based,” Pfizer said.
Paxton is focusing on a claim touted by Pfizer in 2020 that its Covid vaccine was 95% effective, leaving the impression that the vaccine “would end the coronavirus pandemic and lift the omnipresent veil of fear and uncertainty from an anxious public”.
“Contrary to Pfizer’s public statements, however, the pandemic did not end,” Paxton said in the suit.
In contrast to Paxton’s suit, however, medical experts largely believe Covid vaccines have helped prevent millions of deaths and are both safe and effective. But no pharmaceutical intervention is without risks, and in rare cases, the shots have been linked to complications such as heart inflammation.
The lawsuit says Pfizer sought to silence people who questioned its vaccine online, in some cases directly emailing leaders at Twitter to complain. It also points to a Nov 9, 2021, social media post where the company tried to reassure people about the safety of the product.
The suit is the second case Paxton has filed against Pfizer this month. He also accused the drugmaker of distributing ADHD medication to children that was “adulterated” due to deficient manufacturing practices. Pfizer said the allegations had no impact on the product’s safety.