Imagine you are mother in a “economically disadvantaged family” in what some consider the Third World. Imagine you take your baby to the doctor and are forced to sign up for vaccine trials without realizing what you are consenting to. Imagine your baby is one of the 14 that died during the trial, so that First World babies wouldn’t get bacterial pneumonia and meningitis (although it is claimed the deaths were not related to the vaccine trials).
GlaxoSmithKline recruited 15,000 babies under the age of one, mostly from economically disadvantaged families, for the Synflorix vaccine trials. The judge found that the consent forms were signed by parents who were illiterate or were signed by individuals who did not have legal custody of the child. Pediatrician Ana Marchese told FOREXPROS:
These doctors took advantage of many illiterate parents who take their children [to hospital] for treatment by pressuring and forcing them into signing these 28-page consent forms and getting them involved in the trials.
To make matters worse, when children experienced adverse reactions to the vaccines, worried parents were left in the dark. Dr. Marchese exlplained that “in various cases, the doctors who had conducted the trials did not answer the calls made by the worried parents after witnessing their babies’ reactions to the vaccines.”
Poverty and illiteracy does not equate guinea pig status. As the Buenos Aires court ruled, Big Pharma is not entitled to “experimenting with humans and falsifying parental authorisation documents”. Did they think they would get away with it because the families were poor?
GlaxoSmithKline is appealing the subsequent fine and ruling.
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