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Vaccine Makers Getting Inoculated From Lawsuits

If Congressional leaders -- led by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) -- have anything to say about it, the mega-drugmakers will soon get the protection they've been seeking against consumer lawsuits related to the harmful vaccines they're peddling to prevent an Avian flu epidemic that will likely never happen.

I suspect the House approved the measure Monday largely because it was attached to a defense bill that funds military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, a move blasted by opponents, In fact, the bill offers liability protections to any product used to fight "an epidemic," and the government decides what constitutes one. Even worse, no court can review that decision, says Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.).

And, to add insult to injury, the bill calls for a compensation plan modeled after similar laws approved for other vaccines, but appropriates no money to fund it, yet it sets aside nearly $4 billion for pandemic preparedness. Sounds a lot like payback time for Congress, considering drug companies spend more on government lobbying than any other industry.

Three safe ways to protect your health from the flu and without the need for any health-harming vaccines or drugs:

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