Firm that imported AIDS-contaminated blood still active in Iran

March 17, 2009

TEHRAN -- A firm that imported HIV-contaminated blood to Iran is still active in the country.

Over 100 Iranian hemophiliacs became infected with HIV through transfusions of contaminated blood imported by a subsidiary of France’s Mérieux company, which is still active in Iran, Iranian Hemophilia Society Director Ahmad Ghavidel said here on March 3.
Mérieux is currently a subsidiary of the Sanofi Aventis Company, but Ghavidel never mentioned the name of the subsidiary of Mérieux.
In 1994, the Mérieux subsidiary admitted that the Iranian hemophiliacs contracted the virus through contaminated blood the company sold to Iran from 1983 to 1986 to treat children with hemophilia, Ghavidel explained.
The company was found guilty in court, and now the parent company, Sanofi-Aventis, is liable for all the legal claims against Mérieux and its subsidiaries, he added.
Ghavidel commented on the Iraqi health minister’s recent trip to Iran and Iraq’s legal actions against suppliers of HIV-contaminated blood products and called on the Iranian Health Ministry and the Blood Transfusion Organization to take legal action on behalf of the Iranian victims.
In the 1980s, large numbers of hemophiliacs in Iraq became infected with HIV after receiving tainted clotting substances sold by the pharmaceutical companies Sanofi-Aventis and Baxter.
The Iraqi Red Crescent Society, working on behalf of a group of HIV-positive Iraqis, has filed a lawsuit asking for $238 million in damages from Sanofi-Aventis and Baxter