The Irish Independent is today reporting that legal action is being planned against GlaxoSmithKline and the Sacred Heart Order, which allowed 'human guinea pig' drug trials carried out in church-run children's homes.
The Independent writes:
Hundreds of children are feared to have been subjected to the experimental trials while in the care of the Catholic Church.
Now the victims' cases could be reopened, as calls for the Government to deal with the scandal intensifies.
Legal action is being planned against GlaxoSmithKline and the Sacred Heart Order, which allowed the tests at the Bessborough Mother and Baby Home in Cork.
Campaigner and abuse survivor John Barrett, who was born at the home outside Cork city, was used as a 'human guinea pig' while in Lota industrial school, also in Cork.
"We didn't have a clue what was being done to us at the time," he said. "We only found out years later."
John, now 58, wants to know the truth behind the children's ordeal, who conducted the tests and why such experiments were allowed.
Hundreds of youngsters in children's homes are believed to have been used in trials in the Sixties and Seventies to improve vaccines for tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough.
John was used in four different experiments when he was aged 12 and 13 at the Lota home.
He said: "All of the boys of my age were taken off and given tests, X-rays and general examinations.
"Lists were made of those deemed to be 'healthy' and we would sometimes be lined up in one of the dormitories and given massive injections.
"We didn't know what we were being given. Later blood tests would be taken and those whose scars from the first injection had disappeared were given a second dose.
"Over a couple of years, this happened about four times. I don't think they were the normal injections you would expect.
"There is a major inquiry into child abuse so there should be a similar inquiry set up alongside it into medical experiments on children."
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This isn't the first time GlaxoSmithKline have been accused of 'experimenting' on orphans. In 2004, The Guardian newspaper ran with the headline: "UK firm tried HIV drug on orphans"
The article, by Antony Barnett, was hard hitting and tied GlaxoSmithKline to a series of dangerous medical experiments on children from the Incarnation Children's Centre, a New York care home that specialises in treating HIV sufferers. The centre was run by Catholic charities.
Glaxo's corporate motto is:
"GlaxoSmithKline, a leading healthcare company that helps people to do more, feel better and live longer."
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'THE EVIDENCE, HOWEVER, IS CLEAR...THE SEROXAT SCANDAL' By Bob Fiddaman
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