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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”

        

"Lawsuit Alleges Companies Sold Contaminated Blood Overseas"
 Associated Press (06.03.03)::Kim Curtis

 

 

prevention-news-admin@cdcnpin.org

 

[CDC News] CDC HIV/STD/TB Prevention News Update 06/03/03

 

 

                       NATIONAL NEWS
************************************************************
 
 
      Several hemophiliacs have sued health care giant Bayer Corp.
 and other companies, claiming they knowingly sold HIV- and
 hepatitis C-contaminated blood products. The suit, filed in a San
 Francisco federal court, seeks class action status on behalf of
 thousands of foreign hemophiliacs.
      The plaintiffs allege the companies conspired to sell blood-
 clotting products that were produced using blood from high-risk,
 sick donors and distributed them abroad in 1984 and 1985 -
 despite stopping US sales because of the known risk of HIV and
 hepatitis transmission. Monday's suit was filed on behalf of
 foreigners who received the drug, called Factor VIII concentrate,
 according to Robert Nelson of Lieff Cabraser Heimann and
 Bernstein, which represents the plaintiffs.

 


      Early in the AIDS epidemic, the drug was made from plasma
 collected from 10,000 or more donors. Because there was no
 screening test for HIV at the time, thousands of hemophiliacs
 were infected. The suit alleges Bayer and the others could have
 taken precautions but refused. "I don't want to speculate why
 they did what they did. All I know is they didn't use the

 techniques that were widely known in the scientific community and
 went about business as usual as if there wasn't an epidemic in
 the hemophiliac and gay communities," said Nelson.
      Less than two weeks ago, Bayer went on the defensive in
 response to a New York Times investigation that accused the
 company of selling old stock of the drug abroad, while marketing
 a safer product in the United States. The company said it acted
 responsibly and in line with the best medical knowledge at the
 time. However, Bayer and three other companies involved settled
 15 years of US lawsuits from hemophiliacs, paying about $600
 million, the newspaper said.

 


      According to the lawsuit:
 *The contaminated blood products had infected at least 5,000
 hemophiliacs in Europe with HIV by 1992.
 *Nearly all infections of hemophiliacs in Japan have been traced
 to contaminated US blood products.
 *At least 700 HIV cases in Latin America are linked to the use of
 contaminated blood products by hemophiliacs.
      The case is Domenico Gullone et al v. Bayer Corp. et al,
 C032572.