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SmithKline Beecham P.L.C. has been sued for failing to warn consumers that its Lyme disease vaccine puts users with immune-system problems at greater risk of developing an incurable form of arthritis related to the tick-carried disease. The plaintiff, Karen Cassidy, filed her suit in state court in Pennsylvania on Dec. 14, on behalf of the estimated “hundreds of thousands” of Pennsylvania residents who got the anti-Lyme disease vaccine shots during the past year. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the drug in December 1998. The disease is carried by deer ticks and is prevalent along the nation’s eastern seaboard. SmithKline Beecham officials said that they hadn’t seen a copy of the lawsuit, so they couldn’t comment on it. Ms. Cassidy is being represented by partner Stephen A. Sheller and associate Albert J. Brooks Jr., of Philadelphia’s Sheller, Ludwig & Badey. Cassidy v. SmithKline Beecham P.L.C., CA No. 99-10423.

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