One of the biggest problems in medical research is testing. When a disease only affects humans, animal testing is no use, and it’s often tough to get enough volunteers to test drugs which are possibly worthless, or even dangerous.
The massive multinational GlaxoSmithKline faced this problem in 1995. They had a number of experimental AIDS drigs they needed to test, and they just couldn’t find enough volunteers.
Happily, they were able to obtain assistance from the Catholic Church, who run an orphanage in New York called the Incarnation Children’s Center.
The Incarnation Children’s Center had quite a few orphans who had been born to HIV-positive mothers, as well as children whose parents had simply been deemed unfit to look after them. This meant that conveniently, no parental consent was required; the New York political authorities and the Catholic Church took the parental guardian role.
The New York Administration for Children’s Services agreed that experimental AIDS drugs might help the kids. Doctors from the US AIDS Clinical Trial Group at Columbia University Medical Center agreed to supervise the trials. Hence, starting in 1995, GlaxoSmithKline-sponsored scientists found themselves with a supply of more than 100 black and Hispanic orphans to perform medical experiments on. A range of ages was available, from three months old upwards.
Experiments with a seven-drug cocktail of AIDS medications went well, so in 1997 the orphans were used to obtain data on herpes drugs as well, and others were dosed with AZT. Finally, Glaxo and Pfizer got in on the action, and sponsored tests to determine the long-term safety of antibacterial drugs on three-month-old babies.
The medical trials ended in 2000. The story has been uncovered by The Observer. Let’s see how the US corporate media cover it…