Corruption in the Pharmaceutical Trade - BAYER AG
Corruption in the Pharmaceutical Trade
As an opener to this article that describes very directly what the corporate world of pharmaceuticals is about, I would like to quote Marijn Dekkers, CEO of Bayer AG, December 3, 2013 – “We did not develop this medicine for Indians. We developed it for Western patients who can afford it.” The original Businessweek article has been removed from the internet, including its internet cache and the video that was on ft-live.com. https://www.keionline.org/node/1924, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2545360/Pharmaceutical-chief-tries-stop-India-replicating-cancer-treatment.html
Bayer AG can trace its roots back to August 1863 with the creation of “Friedr.Bayer et comp”, a partnership between businessman Friederich Bayer, and Johann Friederich Weskott, a master dyer. This company would specialize in the manufacture of synthetic dyes and was based in Barmen, now part of Wuppertal in Germany. The company grew quickly, exporting dyes all over the world.
1888 would mark the year that Bayer starts its foray into the pharmaceutical trade with the production of Phenacetin, a pain-relieving and fever-reducing drug. 95 years later this drug would be banned by the FDA in 1983 as the drug was found to be carcinogenic and caused kidney damage. It is speculated that this drug may have been the responsible for the death of aviation pioneer and millionaire Howard Hughes.
Bayer was also the first to manufacture a synthetic insecticide, Antinonnin, production starting in 1892. Seven years later a chemist at Bayer succeeds in creating a pure and stable form of acetylsalicylic acid, and the well-known Aspirin is born. A further 10 years later they are also successful in being the first to create a synthetic version of rubber using petrochemicals, with production starting in 1910. By 1913 Bayer employs 10,600 people and owns 8,000 patents world-wide. This meteoric rise is halted by the First World War, in the process losing all its international assets, including trademarks and patents. In order to ensure survival, Bayer merges with IG Farben, a leading chemical company. Bayer is deleted from the companies register, but the Bayer Cross trademark is still used for pharmaceutical sales. The merger creates a company that quickly rises from the ashes with the development of several successful drugs, and the invention of a new class of polymers in 1937 that would change our world - polyurethane.
All too soon the world is tumbled into another global war in 1939, and spells which can be described as possibly the darkest period in the history of GI Farben (which by this time consisted of Bayer, BASF, Hoechst, and other German chemical and pharmaceutical companies). Several sources state that GI Farben was the single largest donor to the election campaign of Adolf Hitler. https://corporatewatch.org/company-profiles/bayer-ag-corporate-crimes
The readers can do their own research into the involvement of this company in WW2, including their links to the concentration camps. This culminated in the Nuremberg War Criminal Tribunal convicting 24 IG Farben board members and executives on the basis of mass murder, slavery and other crimes against humanity, yet by 1951 each and every one of them had been released and working in German corporations. The tribunal also dissolved IG Farben into the separate companies we know as Bayer, Hoechst, and BASF. Thirty years after the end of the war, the top posts in these companies looked as follows, and I quote:
• “Carl Wurster, chairman of the board of BASF until 1974 was, during the war, on the board of the company manufacturing Zyklon-B gas.”
• “Carl Winnacker, chairman of the board of Hoechst until the late 70's, was a member of the Sturm Abteilung (SA) and was a member of the board of IG Farben.”
• “Curt Hansen, chairman of the board of Bayer until the late 70's, was co-organizer of the conquest of Europe in the department of "acquisition of raw materials."
The same three companies were said to be the sponsor in 1996 of the German delegation to the Codex Alimentarius Commission (sets internationally recognized standards, codes of practice, guidelines, and other recommendations relating to foods, food production, and food safety) which back then already proposed that NO HERB, VITAMIN OR MINERAL SHOULD BE SOLD FOR PREVENTIVE OR THERAPEUTIC REASONS, and that SUPPLEMENTS SHOULD BE RECLASSIFIED AS DRUGS. The proposal was agreed to, but protests halted its implementation. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2002/sep/14/medicineandhealth.lifeandhealth
In 1995 Helge Wehmeier, the CEO of Bayer, apologised to the Jewish people during the Three Rivers Lecture Series in Pittsburgh for the role GI Farber had played during WW2. http://www.nydailynews.com/archives/news/bayer-nazi-role-article-1.701925
But enough of their history, more information is available at: https://www.bayer.com/en/history.aspx
As Bayer is a multinational chemical, pharmaceutical and life sciences company, I will restrict this article to only the malfeasance relating to the pharmaceutical industry; otherwise this will turn into a book. Their unethical acts and fines relating to the chemical and agrochemical sectors are well documented and seem to be better publicized and easier to find than the subject of interest in this article.
So let’s get to it. Following a guilty plea in 1997, the Harmaan & Reimer Corporation, a subsidiary of Bayer AG, agreed to pay a $50 million criminal fine to the Federal Trade Commission for participating in an international conspiracy to fix prices and allocate sales in the citric acid market. https://www.ftc.gov/sites/default/files/attachments/us-submissions-oecd-and-other-international-competition-fora/1998--Annual%20Report%20on%20Competition.pdf
Infected blood products – In what is possibly the most sickening episode of utter greed, Cutter Biological, a subsidiary of Bayer, was exposed by an article in the New York Times for wilfully exposing patients to HIV infected blood products. Bayer became aware in 1984 that certain batches of this product, Factor 8, had been contaminated with the HIV virus after a group of children with haemophiliac disease developed HIV after receiving this blood product. A new process was developed to heat-treat the product, thus destroying possible HIV contamination, but millions of dollars in already manufactured contaminated blood product was stockpiled and could no longer be sold in the US. To make matters worse, Factor 8 was still being produced with the old method in tandem with the new, safer heat treatment procedure, as the company had international contractual obligations and the old method was cheaper. The contaminated Factor 8 was then sold to Europe, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan and Argentina, and the FDA did nothing to prevent this. In fact the Food and Drug Administration's regulator of blood products, Dr. Harry Meyer, was documented stating that the F.D.A. wanted the matter settled ''quickly and quietly.'' An estimated 6-10 thousand people died directly as a result of receiving this contaminated product, but the true toll may be much higher, as Cutter appears to have exported more than 100,000 vials of unheated concentrate, each vial containing 250 doses.
May 2003 - A criminal fine of $5.6 Million is paid by Bayer as settlement over allegations that they sold drugs to the government Medicaid program at inflated prices, and an additional $252 Million in civil fines. The charges were related to the repackaging or relabelling of drugs in order to hide the fact that Medicaid was paying more for the same drug. https://www.firstwordpharma.com/node/214820, http://www.michigan.gov/documents/ag/bayer.2003040951_276187_7.pdf
Jan 2007 - The Federal Trade Commission fines Bayer $3,2 Million to settle claims of false advertising involving its One-A-Day WeightSmart multivitamins. http://www.post-gazette.com/business/businessnews/2007/01/05/Bayer-pays-fine-but-says-it-did-nothing-wrong/stories/200701050173, https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2007/01/federal-trade-commission-reaches-new-years-resolutions-four-major
2008 – Bayer Healthcare agrees to pay the US Department of Justice an amount of $97.5 Million to settle charges of paying kickbacks to 11 medical supplies companies to boost sales of their diabetes products. Bayer did not admit or deny any wrongdoing. So why pay? https://www.law360.com/articles/78226/bayer-pays-97-5m-to-settle-kickback-allegations
2008, and yet another case where Bayer admitted no wrongdoing, but conceded to paying a fine of $16 Million. This settlement was reached after the German Antitrust Authority raided the offices of Bayer Vital for evidence relating to secret deals with 11,000 pharmacies to sell certain over-the-counter products at specific prices and receiving rebates in return, which was deemed illegal. http://www.dw.com/en/antitrust-agency-fines-bayer-millions-for-aspirin-price-fixing/a-3367923
2010 – Bayer settles charges by three US states for $3,3 Million relating to false marketing claims about its One-A-Day men’s multivitamins and for “deceptively leveraging fear of prostate cancer.”
August 2015 – After being accused of misleading the public about the health risks of its products, with safety reviews suggesting that drospirenone-containing birth control pills, such as Yasmin and Yaz, may be more likely to cause venous thromboembolism (VTE), potentially leading to incidents of stroke and heart attack, Bayer agrees to set up a fund of just under $57 Million to settle outstanding claims filed for injuries caused by adverse reaction to these products. At this stage Bayer had already forked out around $2 Billion to settle venous blood clot injuries claims. What is notable is that despite officials in the countries exported to being charged and convicted for various offences related to the sale of Factor 8, not one single person faced any sanction for their actions in the US. https://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/articles/yasmin-side-effects-yaz-blood/yasmin-birth-control-lawsuit-side-57-20825.html
As a matter of interest, with the sale of Monsanto to Bayer, the vast majority of patentable food sources will be owned by the very same Nazi-linked companies unbundled after WW2, and also own a major portion of the synthetic medicines and supplement market. For a complete rundown on matters that include pesticides and the petrochemical industry, see https://corporatewatch.org/company-profiles/bayer-ag-corporate-crimes