Coalition for Mercury-Free Drugs, et al. v. Sebelius, et al., No. 11-5035 (D.C. Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs opposed the use of vaccines that contain thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative, and believed that vaccines containing mercury harm young children and pregnant women. Plaintiffs filed an action alleging that the FDA, by allowing thimerosal-preserved vaccines, violated its statutory duty to ensure the safety of vaccines. Plaintiffs asked for a court order requiring the FDA to prohibit the administration of vaccines containing more than a trace level of thimerosal to young children and pregnant women and sought to force the FDA to remove thimerosal-preserved vaccines from the market. The district court dismissed the suit for lack of standing. The court concluded that plaintiffs were not required to receive thimerosal-preserved vaccines; they could readily obtain thimerosal-free vaccines; they did not have standing to challenge the FDA's decision to allow other people to receive the vaccines; and plaintiffs could advocate that the Legislative and Executive Branches ban the vaccines. But because plaintiffs were suffering no cognizable injury as a result of the FDA's decision to allow the vaccine, their lawsuit was not a proper subject for the Judiciary. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court.