Class Action Lawsuit for $ 160 Million Against Merck for Damages Caused by the Gardasil Vaccine in Colombia

The vaccine against the HPV was introduced in Colombia in 2013 in a strange fashion: Congress created a law (Law 1626, approved on April 30 2013) that stated that vaccination against HPV was “free and mandatory to the target population”. The government spent close to a hundred million dollars on vaccines and started the vaccination program in which neither the families nor the vaccinated girls had a word to say about it. The vaccine was mandatory for girls from 4th to 7th grade.

The girls were vaccinated at their schools. They never received an informed consent to sign, and they didn’t have an opportunity to refuse the vaccine. The vaccination program established a vaccination quota that had to be met. However, after a lawsuit the Constitutional Court of Colombia issued and amendment to the law stating that the vaccine wasn’t mandatory and that if a person wanted to refuse it, it was their right and also that there was a right to an informed consent, which was a great victory for the victims.

On August 4, 2017, a lawsuit was filed against the multinational Merck Sharp and Dhome for $160 million dollars for damages caused by the Gardasil vaccine in Colombia. The lawyer, Mónica León del Río, filed the complaint since in Colombia more than 700 girls have suffered the side effects of the Gardasil vaccine, which include, among others, syncope or fainting, autoimmune diseases, Guillain-Barret syndrome, dysautonomia, sclerosis, encephalitis, neuropathies, lupus/Sjogren, ovarian failure, fibromyalgia, ASIA syndrome (autoimmune / inflammatory syndrome induced by adjuvants), and even death.

In this talk I will be presenting the main points of the lawsuit, any new developments in the lawsuit process and how the victims’ movement has slowed down the vaccination campaign in Colombia to a point that the government is blaming the “anti vaccine movement” (which doesn’t exist, the name is a government creation) for their failure to get their vaccination goals.

Mario Lamo-Jimenez, Anthropologist, MA (Intercultural Administration)

Mario Lamo-Jiménez is a Colombian anthropologist and journalist who has written extensively about the side effects of the Gardasil vaccine in Colombia. For the last four decades Mario has written for several media sources in Colombia and the United States, covering human rights and social issues. He has also documented in video the life of one of the young Gardasil victims in Colombia, Valentina Valencia Valdez. His articles have been translated into English, French, and Portuguese. He has published for the last 12 years a cultural/political page with another major journalist in Colombia called “La Hojarasca” ([ He can be reached at: