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In The 1980s, Bayer Knowingly Sold HIV-Contaminated Medicine, Killing Thousands Of People

Updated 19 Aug 2020 72.4k views14 items

From companies with terrible reputations to corporations with ties to the Nazis, businesses have made a lot of bad decisions. But one of the most horrific stories happened only a few decades ago, and most people have never even heard of it. Bayer, famous for selling Aspirin, potentially killed thousands by knowingly selling medicine contaminated with HIV. 

They produced Factor VIII, a medicine for hemophiliacs developed from blood plasma. At the time Bayer sold HIV medication, hemophiliacs had a 90% chance of catching the deadly disease. In October of 1984, Bayer knew that heat treatment killed the AIDS virus, and that unheated Factor VIII concentrations were a death sentence for hemophiliacs. And yet Bayer's Cutter Biological unit decided to sell infected medicine overseas, denying the safer heat-treated product to "use up stocks" of the HIV-infected drug. Many people from Asia and Latin America died as a result of Bayer's prioritization of profits over people.

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