Taiwanese Hemophiliacs File Lawsuit Against Bayer Over Blood-Clotting Products Allegedly Made With HIV-Tainted Blood
August 11, 2003
Lawyers representing seven Taiwanese citizens on Thursday filed a lawsuit in California Superior Court in Los Angeles against the U.S. unit of Bayer and four other pharmaceutical companies, alleging that the companies knowingly sold blood-clotting products that could have been tainted with blood from HIV-positive people, Reuters/Yahoo! India News reports (Reuters/Yahoo! India News, 8/11). Cutter Biological, a unit of Bayer, in the mid-1980s allegedly sold to Asian and Latin American hemophiliacs units of Factor VIII concentrate -- a blood product that can stop potentially fatal bleeding in people with hemophilia -- that had a high risk for transmitting HIV to the patients. The suit claims that Cutter allegedly knew the products carried a risk of HIV infection, and the company sold a safer, heat-treated version of the product in the United States and other Western countries (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/3). The suit -- filed against Bayer, Baxter Healthcare Corp., Armour Pharmaceutical Co., Alpha Therapeutic Corp., a unit of Japan's Mitsubishi Pharma Corp., and the Aventis Behring unit of Aventis -- alleges that executives knew that the untreated Factor VIII was potentially tainted with HIV and that the product was sold on foreign markets for more than a year after the treated version was available in 1984 to "avoid wasting existing stockpiles," according to the Wall Street Journal (Dean, Wall Street Journal, 8/11).
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