Thursday, May 08, 2008

Eugenics or Profit?

Bayer Documents: AIDS Tainted Blood Killed Thousands of Hemophiliacs An examination of internal Bayer company documents by The New York Times reveals that the company was engaged in unsavory, probably criminal marketing practices. The documents reveal that Bayer continued to sell contaminated blood plasma causing thousands of hemophiliac patients to be infected with AIDS. The company continued to sell the contaminated blood in Asia for over a year when it had already introduced a safer, heated blood plasma version in the US and Europe in February 1984.

The documents examined by the Times provide evidence of unrestrained corrupt practices by a pharmaceutical industry giant. According to The Times, records suggest that the reason for continuing to sell an AIDS infected blood product, was to get rid of inventory and "the company hoped to preserve the profit margin from 'several large fixed-price contracts.'"

This previously uninvestigated case demonstrates how this industry's lies and crimes are shielded by officials at the Food and Drug Administration. The Times reports that in 1985 FDA's Dr. Harry Meyer willingly helped Bayer cover up "one of the worst drug-related medical disasters in history." Meyer suggested that the issue should be "quietly solved without alerting the Congress, the medical community and the public." This culture of accommodation continues to prevail at the FDA.

The case also demonstrates Bayer's racial elitism. Its lethal marketing policies disregard human lives. The mother of a 22 year old hemophiliac who was killed by Bayer's tainted product in Hong Kong put it this way: "they did not care about the lives in Asia. It was racial discrimination."

The Times reports that three other American pharmaceutical companies were involved in selling tainted blood plasma after a safer version existed: Armour Pharmaceutical, Baxter International and Alpha Therapeutic.

American taxpayers have awarded unprecedented, generous financial subsidies to this industry--no other has extended patent rights as does this industry. In return they have been deceived, believing that drug company officials care about alleviating suffering and improving people's health, and that the FDA protects them from tainted products. In fact, this industry has repeatedly shown that profits matter more than human lives even less valued are the lives in underdeveloped countries.