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Texas AG Ken Paxton Sues Pfizer For Not Halting the Spread of COVID-19 Fast Enough

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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. (Photo: Imgur)

Impeached Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has taken legal action against Pfizer, Inc. for not ending COVID-19 pandemic fast enough, accusing the company of misleadingly representing the effectiveness of its COVID-19 vaccine and attempting to stifle public discourse about the product.

In a 54-page complaint filed in Lubbock County’s state court, Paxton sarcastically opened by calling the COVID-19 vaccines “the miracle that wasn’t.” The lawsuit alleged that Pfizer’s claim of a 95% efficacy rate was deceptive, asserting that more Americans died from the virus in 2021, after the vaccine’s availability, than in 2020. Paxton claimed the actual effectiveness of the vaccine was a mere 0.85%.

Paxton accused Pfizer of deceiving the public with misleading statements from the beginning, violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The complaint presented evidence challenging Pfizer’s efficacy claims, emphasizing that the vaccine’s impact was minimal and only marginally improved the risk of infection.

“Here, the proof is in the pudding. While Pfizer’s 95% figure made its vaccines seem highly effective, the truth was quite different. When it began making those claims, Pfizer possessed on average only two months of clinical trial data from which to compare vaccinated and unvaccinated persons. Of 17,000 placebo recipients, only 162 acquired COVID-19 during this two-month period. Based on those numbers, vaccination status had a negligible impact on whether a trial participant contracted COVID-19. The risk of acquiring COVID-19 was so small in the first instance during this short window that Pfizer’s vaccine only fractionally improved a person’s risk of infection. And a vaccine recipient’s absolute risk reduction — the federal Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) preferred efficacy metric — showed that the vaccine was merely 0.85% effective. Moreover, according to Pfizer’s own data, preventing one COVID-19 case required vaccinating 119. That was the simple truth. But Pfizer’s fusillade of public representations bore no resemblance to reality.”

Furthermore, Paxton claimed that Pfizer profited significantly from its supposedly ineffective vaccine, labeled those spreading facts about it as ‘criminals,’ and demanded the company repay its alleged ill-gotten gains. The lawsuit sought a court order to halt Pfizer’s misrepresentations and requested over $10 million in damages and court fees, excluding bankruptcy discharge, for the state of Texas.

The statement from Paxton reads: “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. The facts are clear. Pfizer did not tell the truth about their COVID-19 vaccines. Whereas the Biden Administration weaponized the pandemic to force illegal public health decrees on the public and enrich pharmaceutical companies, I will use every tool I have to protect our citizens who were misled and harmed by Pfizer’s actions.”

Pfizer responded, asserting the case’s lack of merit and pledging a court response. The company defended its vaccine’s safety and efficacy, highlighting its wide use and positive impact on preventing severe COVID-19 outcomes.

Despite the COVID-19 crisis waning following the vaccine rollout, Texas conservatives, including Paxton, opposed vaccine mandates.

Paxton, facing felony securities fraud charges, awaits trial with a potential 99-year prison sentence. In September, he was acquitted of bribery and corruption charges. Paxton’s legal action against Pfizer aligns with a broader trend among Republican officials critical of pharmaceutical companies and COVID-19 vaccines, as seen with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ investigation petition in 2022.

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