Zoetis, Hendra vaccine maker, has been hit with a $53 million class action by horse owners.


Horse owners have launched a $53 million law suit against the pharmaceutical company responsible for developing the Hendra vaccine.
The owners, from New South Wales and Queensland, are claiming that Zoetis Australia PTY LTD did not provide adequate warnings about the potential side effects of the vaccine on their horses.



More than half a million horses have been vaccinated with Equivac HeV Australia wide, including horses belonging to owners from racing and equestrian associations, working animals on farming properties and much loved family ponies.
Many horses have died or had to be euthanised after vets administered the Equivac HeV vaccine supplied by Zoetis and many more developed severe side effects that have compromised their health and limited their ability to train, compete or exercise.

The barrister instructed by LHD Lawyers, John Rowe, said Zoetis failed to inform horse owners of the potential side effects and have breached the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Act by failing to properly trial and test the vaccine before its release.
"The reality is the vets that administered the vaccination initially didn't give the owners any warning at all," Mr Rowe said.
"Many of the horse owners would not have agreed to the inoculation had they been warned of the possible side effects."

The vaccine was developed as an inoculation for the Hendra Virus in horses. Owners were often pressured into vaccinating their animals because of restrictions related to competing or receiving treatment by vets.
Restrictions on unvaccinated horses and inoculations using the Equivac HeV vaccine are continuing throughout Australia.
LHD’s Hendra Vaccine Class action also includes allegations that Zoetis contravened regulations relating to the use of the Equivac HeV vaccine granted under a ‘Minor Use Permit’, including breaches of the Australian Consumer law and other legislation governing the sale of pharmaceuticals for use by veterinarians. 

Damages are being sought for any individual horse owner whose horse was effected by the vaccine resulting in death or loss of use.

Michael Hyland, special counsel for LHD Lawyers, says the owners that are part of the class action had suffered significantly.

"It's had a profound impact on the horse owners and it's something they are struggling to come to terms with," Mr Hyland said.

Zoetis has issued a statement saying the vaccine was "safe and effective" and "no vaccinated horse has contracted the Hendra virus".

The company said it has not been notified of a claim and a class action would put people and animals at risk.
"Attacks on vaccination have the potential to put the lives of vets, the horse owning public and horses at risk," a spokesperson said.

The Hendra virus has killed 103 horses and four people across 60 separate outbreaks in QLD and NSW.

What does it take to become a Group Member in the Class Action?
If you owned a vaccinated horse that has died or developed severe symptoms, you may be able to join the Hendra Vaccine Class Action as a ‘Group Member’.
To join, you will have to show that your horse was inoculated with the Equivac HeV vaccine and that the horse developed severe side effects or died because its health was severely compromised at any time following the vaccination.

Legal Action is expensive, so who will pay the cost?

LHD is conducting the Hendra Class Action on a ‘no win no fee’ basis. We believe that providing legal services in this way provides those affected with access to justice.

What this means is that our firm will cover the legal costs of all Group Members to the Class Action without requiring that they any pay legal costs unless we are successful recovering compensation from Zoetis or any other party found responsible for damage caused by the vaccine.

How does someone get involved?
If you think you fit the description of “group member” you can speak with a representative at LHD Lawyers by simply calling (02) 9264 6644 and leaving your contact details and a brief description of how your horse/s were affected.




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