Argentina Laboratories company was fined 400,000 pesos by Judge
Marcelo Aguinsky following a report issued by the National
Administration of Medicine, Food and Technology (ANMAT in Spanish)
for the killing of 14 babies during illegal lab vaccine trials
conducted between 2007 and 2008.
Likewise, two doctors - Héctor Abate, and Miguel Tregnaghi
- were fined with 300,000 pesos each for irregularities during the
The charges included experimenting with human beings, falsifying
parental authorizations so babies could participate in
vaccine-trials conducted by the laboratory from 2007 to 2008.
Since 2007, 15,000 children under the age of one from Mendoza, San
Juan and Santiago del Estero have been included in the research
protocol, a statement of what the study is trying to achieve. Babies
were recruited from poor families that attended to public hospitals.
A total of 7 babies died in Santiago del Estero; 5 in Mendoza; and 2
in San Juan.
Pediatrician Ana Marchese, who reported the case through the
Argentine Federation of Health Professionals (FESPROSA in
Spanish), and was working at the Eva Perón children's public
hospital in Santiago del Estero when the studies wee being
conducted, said this morning in conversations with Continental AM
“GSK Argentina set
an protocol at the hospital, and recruited several doctors
“These doctors took advantage of many illiterate parents whom
take their children for treatment by pressuring and forcing them
into signing these 28-page consent forms and getting them
involved in the trials.”
“Laboratories can't experiment in Europe or the United States,
so they come to do it in third-world countries."
Colombia and Panama were
also chosen by GSK as staging grounds for trials of the vaccine
against the pneumococcal bacteria.
Likewise, Marchese, explained the modus operandi:
“Once a picked
patient arrived, it would automatically disappear to be taken
somewhere else in order to be treated by those doctors specially
recruited by GSK. These kind of practices are not legal and
occurred without any type of state control, plus they don’t
comply with minimum ethical requirements.”
Marchese also remembered
on human beings are not legalized in Argentina.”
pediatrician explained that,
“it is also known
that in various particular 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.”
According to Marchese,
“there already exist very good vaccines
for the same diseases, but we all know how laboratories work,
they only care for their own business.”
To end, Doctor Marchese
aimed to Santiago del Estero Governor, Gerardo Zamora, who,
“never ever came out
to stage to comment on the case, and same happened with national
deputies and senators that didn’t even bother into discussing a
hot topic that was echoed worldwide. I’m also ashamed of the
scientific community that also kept its mouth shut.”
Julieta Ovejero, great
aunt of one of the six babies who died in Santiago del Estero, said
“A lot of people
wanted to leave the protocol but they weren’t allowed; they
forced them to continue under the threat that if they leave they
won't receive any other vaccine.”
During 2008, the vaccine
trial was still ongoing despite the reports issued by
those in charge of the study told reporters that the procedures were
being carried out in a lawful manner.
On the contrary, the ruling states that the laboratory as well the
involved doctors broke all legal requirements for conducting
clinical tests on babies.
Surprisingly, during same year pediatrician Enrique Smith, one of
the lead investigators told reporters:
“Only 12 have died
throughout the country, which is a very low figure if we compare
it with the deaths produced by respiratory illnesses caused by
the pneumococcal bacteria.”
In Santiago del Estero,
one of the country's poorest provinces, the trials were authorized
when Enrique's brother, Juan Carlos Smith, was provincial health
According to Fesprosa,
“the laboratory paid
$8,000 pesos for each child included in the study, but none (of
that money) remained in the province that lends the public
facilities and the health personnel for the private research.”
GlaxoSmithKline is a
global pharmaceutical, biologics, vaccines and consumer healthcare
company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the world's
third-largest pharmaceutical company measured by revenues after
Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer.
Ironically, if one visits GlaxoSmithKline Argentina web site it
welcomes the reader with a company disclosure that says:
“We have a
challenging and inspiring mission to improve the quality of human
life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer."
According to www.GSK.com site, Glaxo was originally a baby food
manufacturer processing local milk into a baby food by the same
name, and founded in Bunnythorpe, New Zealand in 1904.
The product was sold in
the 1930s under the slogan "Glaxo builds bonny babies".
GlaxoSmithKline Argentina manufacturing 28,333 m2 centre
is located in Northern Greater Buenos Aires town of San Fernando.