Updated on 27 May 2013
Major pharma firms conducted shady drug trials on East German patients during 1989-90, before the fall of the Berlin Wall (Image source - www.fold3.com)
Singapore: Major pharmaceutical companies, including some that are now subsidiaries of giants Pfizer, Bayer and Roche, conducted several shady drug trials in East Germany during 1989-90, according to German weekly news magazine, Der Spiegel.
The report revealed that according to documents, which have been acquired from the private archives of physicians and from files of the former East German Health Ministry, the Ministry for State Security (Stasi), and Germany's Institute for Drug Regulatory Affairs, more than 50,000 East German patients served as guinea pigs for West Germany, Switzerland, and US-based pharma firms, until the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The report highlighted that the firms tested more than 600 drugs on East German patients, including prematurely born infants, alcoholics, and depressives. The trials resulted in several fatalities. Furthermore, some studies had to be discontinued because of serious side effects that had suddenly occurred.
The East German institutions that collaborated in the heinous trials included around 50 cash-starved hospitals in such cities as Berlin and Dresden that accepted up to 800,000 deutsche marks per study. While the companies gained access to clinical trial results at a low cost, their partners in East Germany received cash, gifts and medical technology for their hospitals.
German daily newspaper, Der Tagespiegel, highlighted that similar claims were made earlier but had been dismissed by investigators in 1991. According to newspaper, Spiegel International, Germany's Interior Ministry is planning to investigate the patient trials and expects pharma firms to extend their complete co-operation.
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