|What was the role of GSK's predecessors in the thalidomide scandal?|
It never rains but it pours for British pharmaceutical giants GlaxoSmithKline. Court settlements with drugs such as Paxil and Avandia, Income Tax evasion fines, dirty plants in Puerto Rico, price fixing...the list is endless.
Here's a new one - it's just been revealed that GlaxoSmithKline, the company that wants you to do more, feel better and live longer, have been hit with a suit in a Pennsylvania court alleging that they, along with other pharmaceutical companies and their predecessors, negligently buried evidence showing the morning sickness drug thalidomide caused birth defects.
GSK predecessor Smith Kline & French “concealed from the public that it tested thalidomide on at least 875 people, including pregnant women,” in the late 1950s, plaintiffs' lawyer Steve Berman of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP said in a statement Tuesday.
“During those trials, we believe new documents reveal that at least one baby was born with severe birth defects. If SKF had come forward then, future trials might have been stopped and many lives saved,” Berman said.
The suit, filed by 13 people born with severe birth defects, also claims thalidomide may be responsible for more birth defects than previously thought. For decades, the conventional medical wisdom has been that thalidomide only causes bilateral birth defects, which affect both sides of the body.
The NOTICE TO PLEA reveals some disturbing facts and is revealed here for the first time.
IV. STATEMENT OF FACTS A. An overview of the thalidomide tragedy.
Administering thalidomide to pregnant women has been called one of the biggest disasters in modern medicine. First sold in Germany as an over-the-counter remedy for everything from the flu to insomnia to morning sickness, the drug was advertised as ―completely harmless‖ and ―atoxic‖ during the nine years that it was distributed for human use. Far from being harmless, the ingestion of even one pill during the early stages of pregnancy caused severe birth defects, including malformed limbs, curved spines, malformed or missing internal organs, and damaged ears, eyes, and gastrointestinal systems.
The tragedy starts with Grünenthal, a German company that was a subsidiary of a large cosmetics company. Its research was unashamedly market-driven, and its corporate strategy was to penetrate the burgeoning antibiotic boom. Conditions in postwar Germany were appalling, and health authorities feared epidemics of tuberculosis and even cholera. So antibiotics were big business for German pharmaceutical companies. The director of Grünenthal‘s research and development group was Dr. Heinrich Mückter.
Two years before he joined Grünenthal, Mückter was a medical scientist for the army of the Third Reich. Specifically, he was Medical Officer (Stabsarzt) to the Superior Command of the German Occupation Forces occupying Krakau, Poland, with the additional, ominous title of "Director for the Institute of Spotted Fever and Virus Research." Given the role that military medicine played in the objectives and methods of the Nazi occupation of Krakau, Mückter‘s work there involved the science of killing rather than healing.
So what is the role of Glaxo in this?
The complaint filed continues...
Each Defendant participated in the effort to hide the facts as to its distribution and marketing of thalidomide in this country. Smith, Kline & French, the predecessor to SmithKline Beecham Corporation and the Glaxo Defendants, has been portrayed for decades as a company that refused to market thalidomide for Grünenthal, based on tests on mice in the 1950s that showed that thalidomide was "useless" as a sedative.
But SKF concealed for more than fifty years that it had conducted a clinical trial on at least 875 people in 1956 and 1957 in the United States, including pregnant women. Its President lied to Congress about the fact that at least one, if not more, malformed babies were born to women participating in this trial by 1958. Although Grünenthal knew that SKF had conducted human experiments and Merrell should have (and must have) known it, both companies cooperated in the concealment of SKF‘s early use of the drug with pregnant women in the United States, a use that resulted in the births of malformed babies.
SKF did not disclose that it had experimented on pregnant women with thalidomide supplied by Grünenthal, save in a single unreported letter to Congress on August 27, 1962, so there was no publicly available information linking SKF to Grünenthal and thalidomide.
Does this shock you, are you surprised that yet again the name of GlaxoSmithKline [albeit their predecessors] appears in a lawsuit that alleges harm to children?
Anyone remember the Paxil 329 studies?
Anyone remember how hundreds of Irish children used for "Medical Science"...even in death?
Or what about the thousands of babies in the UK that were inoculated with a batch of toxic whooping cough vaccines in the 1970s?
We have children and teenagers who have killed themselves whilst on GSK's Paxil [Seroxat], Sara Carlin, Sharise Gatchell and Adrian Keegan are three such children.
Not forgetting how New York City used children to test experimental AIDS drugs
What is it with GlaxoSmithKline, their predecessors and children?
Where is the love?
Full complaint, dated Oct. 25, 2011, can be read HERE [PDF]
GlaxoSmithKline are currently pushing the boat out in third world countries, offering vaccines to children. Is it just me or does anyone else think that this company should be stopped handing out vaccines until, at the very least, their part in the thalidomide cover-up has been answered?
I'm left scratching my head at the preposterous law that exists. The morals of this company are abhorrent if this recent complaint is anything go by.