BERLIN, May 12: – Western drug companies tested pharmaceuticals on more than 50,000 people in the former communist East Germany, often without the knowledge of patients, several of whom died, the Spiegel news weekly reported Sunday.
Some 600 clinical trials were carried out in more than 50 hospitals until the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall, the report said, citing previously unpublished documents of the East German health ministry, pharmaceutical institute and Stasi secret police.
Many major drug companies from Germany, Switzerland and the United States took part, offering up to 800,000 West German marks (about 400,000 euros, $520,000 at today’s exchange rate) per study, a boost for East Germany’s underfunded health care system, Spiegel said.
Records showed that two people died in East Berlin during testing of Trental, a drug that improves blood circulation developed by then West German company Hoechst, which has since merged with Sanofi, the report said.
Two more patients died in a lung clinic near the city of Magdeburg in tests of a blood pressure drug made by Sandoz, which has since been taken over by the Swiss group
(AFP / NNA Nepal)