July 20, 2018

Cassidy, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Streamline Additions to the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program

WASHINGTON – In a bipartisan effort aimed at amending the tax code to ensure that all new maternal and childhood vaccines are covered under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP), U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA),  Bob Casey (D-PA), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced the Vaccine Access Improvement Act, bipartisan legislation to streamline the taxation step for new vaccines that became eligible for the VICP under the 21st Century Cures Act.

“As a doctor and a senator, I have witnessed the red tape that delays patients’ access to life-saving vaccines and treatments, increasing costs,” said Dr. Cassidy. “This legislation is crucial to ensuring children and mothers have better access to safe, cutting-edge vaccines.”

“As scientific research yields new vaccines that can protect us from illness, we must ensure the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program is updated in a timely manner,” said Senator Casey. “The Vaccine Access Improvement Act will streamline the process for adding a vaccine in the VICP to Treasury’s list of taxable vaccines, thereby completing the process of adding the vaccine to the compensation program faster.”

“The Vaccine Access Improvement Act offers a commonsense solution to get vaccines to patients more quickly, helping to protect Americans against life-threatening diseases while ensuring that the small number of patients who experience side effects get the care they need,” said Senator Isakson. “There is no reason for the legislative process of Congress to slow down vaccines from being added to the Compensation Program if they have already been determined to be safe and effective and have been cleared for distribution by the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

“Vaccines save lives and we need to do what we can to ensure they are safe and accessible,” said Senator Cardin. ““The bipartisan goal of The Vaccine Access and Improvement Act is to streamline the regulatory process that protects patients who can be helped by the latest advances and discoveries.”

The Vaccine Access Improvement Act directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to notify the Secretary of the Treasury, and the relevant congressional committees of jurisdiction, of the addition of new vaccines to the Vaccine Injury Compensation Table. It also amends the Internal Revenue Code to automatically designate all new maternal and childhood vaccines that are covered under the VICP as subject to the existing excise tax to fund the VICP.

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program is a no-fault alternative to the traditional legal system for resolving vaccine injury petitions. Any individual, of any age, who received a covered vaccine and believes he or she was injured as a result, can file a petition. Parents, legal guardians and legal representatives can file on behalf of children, disabled adults, and individuals who are deceased.