(Terry Stogdell, Former Spokesman, Canadian Hemophilia Society)
If all you read is English then it is highly unlikely you would ever know that Bayer – you know, the folks who make the aspirin you likely have popped into your mouth at least once – has paid out tens of millions of dollars, to offset a 30-year disgrace in which the drug company sold HIV-contaminated medications to hemophiliacs. Oh, it wasn’t by accident. They did it on purpose.
And thousands of them later died of AIDS.
“Bayer Pharmaceuticals is responsible for the deaths thousands of hemophiliacs. They knowingly sold contaminated blood products to patients in the U.S., Canada, Japan, Costa Rica, Mexico, Brazil and other countries. The company now earns millions by selling drugs to the very people they infected.”
(Doctor Sidney Wolfe, Co-founder, Public Citizen’s Health Research Group)
That’s kind of an important story, don’t you think? Not in America. You have to study Italian or French newspapers to discover that Bayer has been forced to write monster checks to people who got AIDS because – in the 1980s – the pharmaceutical giant ignored federal law and recruited IV drug users, high-risk gay males and prisoners to donate blood. This blood was necessary in order for them to manufacture a clotting product they called Factor 8. The purpose of Factor 8 was to prevent hemophiliacs from bleeding to death.
European news sources report that the actual payout to patients and their families was $50,000,000, the largest settlement ever on the HIV/hemophilia issue. And two U.S. law firms negotiated it.
As part of the settlement, the attorneys in the case – as well as their very ill patients – were ordered not to talk about the details.
In 1997 Bayer began depositing millions into a compensation fund for hemophiliacs who had gotten HIV. It is estimated that about 20,000 people contracted the disease from the infected blood.
What about the Federal Drug Administration oversight?
The FDA’s Doctor Harry Meyer suggested that the issue should be “quietly solved without alerting the Congress, the medical community and the public.”
So the culture of accommodating crime continues to prevail at the FDA.
Ask us again why any Paramedic might become a medical heretic.
Here’s another view:
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