January 26: news agencies AFP and dpa confirm the following report; and here´s an article by the Alliance for Human Research Protection

Press Release, January 24, 2010
Coalition against Bayer Dangers (Germany)

Bayer, Baxter pay multimillion indemnity to haemophiliacs

Settlement in the US with victims from 22 countries / HIV infections were preventable / “why is BAYER concealing the payments?”

The pharmaceutical companies BAYER, Baxter, Behring and Alpha are paying a multimillion dollar compensation to haemophiliacs from 22 countries who were infected with HIV or hepatitis C through use of blood plasma products in the 1980ies. This is the outcome of a settlement that became effective late in 2010. The settlement prohibits the victims or their lawyers from speaking about the arrangement. Several thousand haemophiliacs had taken part in lawsuits against the corporations.

Philipp Mimkes from the Coalition against Bayer-Dangers, which has been monitoring the company for more than 30 years, welcomes the settlement and characterizes it as a “late guilty plea” from the corporations involved. However, Mimkes criticizes the imposed secrecy: “Why is BAYER concealing these payments? Why are the media not able to report on this precedent? It is outrageous that the companies who knowingly infected thousands of haemophiliacs are blackmailing the victims not to talk about this important development!”.

So far only Italian media reported on the settlement in which 443 Italian haemophiliacs are participating. “This is a historic result”, says Luigi Ambroso, president of the Comitato 210/92 which has been championing for compensations for many years, “even though we would prefer that the guilt of those responsible is legally determined”. Italian state tribunals are investigating the companies for “multiple manslaughter”. Due to procedural problems the trial was not opened yet.

Internal documents revealed that Bayer´s daughter company Cutter, world market leader for blood plasma products in the 1980ies, continued to sell contaminated preparations when it had already introduced a safer, heat-treated version. Already in January 1983, Cutter managers acknowledged: “There is strong evidence to suggest that HIV is passed on to other people through . . . plasma products". In August 1983 Cutter employees forsaw in confidential papers a “gigantic epidemic" among haaemophiliacs. Nevertheless Cutter continued to produce non-heat-treated plasma products until August 1984 and sold these until 1985. More than 10 thousand haemophiliacs paid with their lives.

The Coalition against Bayer-Dangers demands full compensation for haemophiliacs all over the world on the basis of the concessions BAYER made in Japan. Whereas Japanese victims received $450.000 each as well as a monthly pension, haemophiliacs in most other countries were put off with minor sums, if at all. The Coalition also demands the punishment of the responsible persons at BAYER and other companies.

additional information:
· report in Italian paper on the recent settlement (Italian)
· NY Times article on HIV-contaminated Bayer drugs
· Bayer “Rat of the Week”: