Bayer and US Govt. Knowingly Sold HIV-Tainted Medicines to Thousands of Children

HIV-Tainted Medicines

Now that an imminent dengue crisis is hovering over more than 700,000 school children in the Philippines, let’s look at a major fiasco another big pharma giant executed sometime in the early eighties. That pharma company is Bayer. The victims: 100,000 school children in six countries across the globe.

A History of Deceit and Unethical Selling

As I had mentioned in another story about the 8 dangerous medicines on the planet now, Bayer, a German multinational pharmaceutical company, has had a long infamous history of adopting and shielding people of dubious reputation, namely a German guy named Fritz ter Meer. Meer was one of the chemists who infamously orchestrated the mass genocide of Jews during World War II by gassing them. After serving only 5 years in prison due to good behavior, Meer became the supervisory board chairman of Bayer in 1951 until the early sixties.

Now, that is a little background history of what Bayer did in the early eighties. In those days, Bayer was manufacturing various products – from pesticides to medicines for hemophiliacs called “Factor 8”. Then in 1984, Bayer was informed that several batches of Factor 8’s hemophiliac medicine contained HIV. They were aware of this because an outbreak of HIV among hemophiliac children occurred – and this was traced back to Bayer.

Bayer knew that the Factor 8 medicines were tainted with HIV – but they sold the infected Factor 8 vials anyway – all 100,000 vials of unheated concentrate to countries like Indonesia, Argentina, Malaysia, Japan, and Singapore, according to vital documents obtained by the New York Times. And this is the bombshell part of the story – Bayer sold those HIV-tainted 100,000 medicines with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval after Bayer began selling a safer version of the product. Yup, you heard it right! The FDA just decided to turn its other cheek and pretend that it has never seen nor known about the HIV-tainted Factor 8 medicines.

The result of the sale was that it infected tens of thousands of children and adults with HIV. Most of those people who were infected are now dead. And most of all, while thousands died because of this sale, there has been no punitive action taken against Bayer. All the health department leaders of Argentina, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore were all imprisoned for allowing the sale and importation of the tainted drugs, but the U.S. FDA still continues on with its role in regulating medicines supposedly for the common good.

Why HIV in a hemophiliac medicine?

Bayer learned that some of the donors to the blood plasma that was collected to make the hemophiliac medicine came from HIV sufferers at that time. Since it was 1984 and no AIDS test was invented yet to screen blood donors, there was a great possibility that blood plasma stocks for Factor 8 could have been tainted by HIV-positive donors.

Yet, Bayer continued to sell the HIV-tainted Factor 8 drugs, reported The New York Times. Asked about why they sold the tainted Factor 8 medicines, Bayer answered: “Decisions made nearly two decades ago were based on the best scientific information of the time and were consistent with the regulations in place.” This means that Bayer willingly sold the tainted Factor 8 medicines with the knowing approval of the U.S. FDA. According to the New York Times, the FDA’s administrator of blood products at that time, Dr. Harry M. Meyer Jr., requested that the sale be “quietly solved without alerting the Congress, the medical community, and the public.”

So do you still trust Bayer, the U.S. FDA and other big pharma manufacturing companies with your life or that of your children? Share your comments and opinions in the section below!

Image by NIAID CC BY 2.0