To read the English-speaking media, you’d never know that Bayer (BAYRY) just paid “tens of millions” of dollars to end a three-decade long scandal in which the company sold HIV-contaminated blood products to haemophiliacs, thousands of whom later died of AIDS.
Ironically, Bayer’s new haemophilia iPhone app got some coverage, as did Bayer’s haemophilia research grant to the University of Florida. But you have to pick through the French and Italian news media to find out that Bayer is finally writing checks to people who got AIDS because, in the 1980s, the Cutter Biological unit of Bayer ignored federal law to recruit prisoners, intravenous drug users, and high-risk gay men as donors of the blood Cutter then used to make Factor VIII and IX, the clotting product that haemophiliacs need in order to not bleed to death. Agence France Press reported (via a Google translation):
The German group Bayer and three other labs will pay tens of millions of euros to hemophiliacs who accused them of having sold in the 1980s blood products contaminated with HIV, a source close to the deal told AFP.
The figure of tens of millions of euros in compensation “is not totally wrong,” she added. Bayer and the U.S. company Baxter are the two main parties to the agreement, she said.
A company spokesperson said:
However, “the company accepts no responsibility” in this case, and “continues to insist it has always acted responsibly and ethically.”