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On Wednesday, December 21, 2005, the Senate will vote on the vaccine immunity amendment that was just passed by the House. This bill — Section 6 of S. 1873, the Biodefense and Pandemic Vaccine and Drug Development Act of 2005, sponsored by Senator Richard Burr, R-N.C. — would set a dangerous and unprecedented standard of care for drug manufacturers, allowing civil suits only when a drug company has engaged in willful misconduct. Although it is touted as a necessary measure to assure an effective response to the bird flu, in fact it would apply to untold numbers of drugs and would set a frightening precedent in reducing corporate accountability.

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