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Lawsuits by Taiwanese Hemophilia Patients to Proceed in US Court

John F. Grady, U.S. District Court judge for the Northern District of Illinois, has refused to dismiss three lawsuits brought by approximately 40 Taiwanese hemophilia patients against Bayer HealthCare Corporation and Baxter Corporation.  The patients, represented by the law firm Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, PC, allege that the pharmaceutical companies knowingly sold HIV- and hepatitis C-contaminated factor products in parts of Asia and Latin America, even after pulling the product from US markets more than 20 years ago. 

“Cutter, now part of Bayer Corp., knowingly dumped HIV-contaminated hemophilia medicine in the Far East.” according to attorney Michael L. Baum. “They continued selling their cheaper HIV-contaminated blood clotting medicine in order to make a profit from it and deplete their inventory.”

Previous lawsuits brought by other hemophilia groups from the UK, Israel and Argentina against Bayer and Baxter had been dismissed by Judge Grady on the grounds of forum non conveniens, which allows courts to refuse to hear cases on the grounds that other courts are more appropriate.  Judge Grady ruled that the circumstances in the Taiwan cases contrast significantly enough with those prior cases to warrant continuing them in the U.S., rather than moving them to Taiwan.

For more information on the lawsuits, see May 22, 2003, story in The New York Times.

Source: news release posted January 16, 2009


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