Sunday, May 03, 2009

Bayer unit sold AIDS tainted medicine to Asia

Just read this very tragic 2003 report by the New York Times. Thanks to YES-WE-CAN for adding to Reddit.

Cutter Biological, a division of the pharmaceutical company Bayer sold millions of dollars of blood-clotting medicine for hemophiliacs -- medicine that carried a high risk of transmitting AIDS -- to Asia and Latin America in the mid-1980's while selling a new, safer product in the West, according to documents obtained by The New York Times.

Cutter also continued to sell the older [nonheated] product after February 1984 in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan and Argentina, records show. In Hong Kong and Taiwan alone, more than 100 hemophiliacs got H.I.V. after using Cutter's old medicine. Many have since died....

When a Hong Kong distributor in late 1984 expressed an interest in the new product, the records show, Cutter asked the distributor to ''use up stocks'' of the old medicine before switching to its ''safer, better'' product. Several months later, as hemophiliacs in Hong Kong began testing positive for H.I.V., some local doctors questioned whether Cutter was dumping ''AIDS tainted'' medicine into less-developed countries....

'Argentina has been sold 300,000 units and will possibly order more, and the Far East has ordered 400,000 units,'' according to a March 1985 Cutter report. Two months later, the company reported that ''in Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, doctors are primarily dispensing nonheated Cutter'' concentrate....

The delay harmed more than just the hemophiliacs, said Mrs. Li, the mother of the young hemophiliac who died of AIDS in 1993. Infected with a terrible and still mysterious disease, hemophiliacs were often shunned by family, friends and employers.

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