April 26, 2005
The suit is similar to one filed in California Superior Court in Los Angeles in August 2003 by lawyers representing seven Taiwanese citizens, as well as a suit filed in June 2003 in a San Francisco federal court by 15 plaintiffs from Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom. Cutter Biological, a unit of Bayer, in the mid-1980s allegedly sold foreign hemophiliacs units of Factor VIII that had a high risk of transmitting HIV to the patients. The California suit claimed that Cutter knew the products carried a risk of HIV infection and that the company sold a safer, heat-treated version of the product in the United States and other Western countries. The suit also alleged that executives knew that the untreated Factor VIII potentially was tainted with HIV and that the product was sold on foreign markets for more than a year after the treated version was available to avoid wasting existing stockpiles. Cutter, Bayer, Baxter, Armour and Alpha in 1996 reached a $600 million settlement in a class-action suit involving 6,000 U.S. hemophiliacs who had been infected with untreated Factor VIII or a similar product. The companies admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement, saying that the plaintiffs' HIV infection occurred before the products were replaced with heat-treated versions on the U.S. market (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/11/03).
Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2004 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.