Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Bayer Sells AIDS-Infected Drug Banned in U.S. in Europe, Asia

Recently unearthed documents show that the drug company Bayer sold millions of dollars worth of an injectable blood-clotting medicine -- Factor VIII concentrate, intended for hemophiliacs -- to Asian, Latin American, and some European countries in the mid-1980s, although they knew that it was tainted with AIDS.
The company stopped selling the drug in the United States in 1984, but continued to sell it overseas for an additional year.
The medicine was made using combined plasma from large numbers of donors; at the time, there was no screening test for the AIDS virus, so a tiny number of donors with AIDS could inadvertently contaminate a large batch.
Unloading the Drug on the Unknowing
Records show that the company continued to sell the medicine overseas in an attempt to avoid being left with a large stock of a drug that was no longer marketable in the United States. The dangers of the drug had become well-known domestically, but the news was slower to reach other parts of the world.
However, Bayer also continued to manufacture the medicine for several months after pulling it from the market in the United States, because it was cheaper to produce than the new, safer product they were introducing as a replacement.
Although worldwide numbers are difficult to calculate, in Hong Kong and Taiwan alone, more than 100 hemophiliacs contracted HIV after using the medicine, and most have died.
FDA CollusionFDA regulators helped to keep the continued sales hidden, asking the company that the problem be ''quietly solved without alerting the Congress, the medical community and the public,'' according to the minutes of a 1985 meeting.

YouTube.com April 2, 2006
New York Times May 22, 2003

The Most Deadly Poisons Ingested or Inhaled

Wired magazine has released a list of the 10 deadliest poisons that work either by ingestion of inhalation. They include:

Cyanide: Cyanide exposure leads to seizures, cardiac arrest, and death within minutes.
Sarin: A deadly nerve gas hundreds of times more toxic than cyanide.
Botulinum: Several orders of magnitude deadlier than sarin, this poison causes your nervous system to fail, resulting in an extremely painful death.
Mercury: Inhaled mercury vapor attacks the brain and lungs, and shuts down the central nervous system. Mercury starts turning into a gas at room temperature.
Compound 1080: This poison is odorless, tasteless, and has no antidote. The bodies of those killed with 1080 remain poisonous for a year.
Wired August 2006

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Toxic Contact Lens Cleaner a Long-Term Problem

Several months ago, Bausch and Lomb recalled their multipurpose contact lens solution ReNu with MoistureLoc after it was connected to eye infections caused by the fusarium fungus.
Researchers had warned of the risks of solutions such as ReNu as many as nine years ago, but manufacturers of contact lens cleaners, particularly Bausch and Lomb, downplayed the concerns.
In the late '90s, a study showed that Bausch and Lomb's ReNu MultiPlus did not kill potentially dangerous bacteria as well as other brands. Bausch and Lomb contested the research, pointing to research they had conducted themselves that contradicted the study's results.
Some researchers are now worried that some solution brands may damage the surface of the eye, in a process called corneal staining. Studies have also shown that multipurpose solutions can increase the binding of bacteria to the cells of the cornea. And a 2005 study found that lenses left soaking in ReNu with MoistureLoc could end up "covered with what appeared to be fungus."The FDA has promised to re-evaluate its testing methods for contact lens solutions.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette July 26, 2006

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