More vaccine trials were kept secret by the State

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Harney under pressure to order full investigation.

By Patricia McDonagh

Friday August 27 2010

THE Government was told about secret vaccine trials at least six years ago but has refused to investigate them ever since.

The Irish Independent can reveal that the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline — the firm that was behind controversial vaccine trials on children in state care during the 1960s and 1970s — handed over records relating to the tests to a child-abuse inquiry in 2004.

The revelations have piled pressure on Health Minister Mary Harney to launch an independent probe into the contents of the documents.

The Department of Health admitted last night that its officials have been “in discussions” with the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse about what to do with the records.

While the documents only show that “other vaccine trials” took place, it is so far not known how many other people were involved, whether children in state care were used for the trials or what medicines were tested.

Victims, adoption groups and opposition parties are now demanding a full investigation into all the vaccine trials on children in state care.

GlaxoSmithKline declined to comment. Its silence has raised serious concerns about the nature of the medical tests.

Those concerns have deepened as the department has so far failed to answer questions on the issue.

This newspaper put a series of questions to Ms Harney’s officials this week. No answers were forthcoming.

The questions included:

* How many vaccine trials in total were conducted?
* Were children in care used in the trials and what consent was given for this?
* What, if any, are the long-term medical effects of the trials on the victims?
* Why has the State refused to investigate the contents of the files?
* Why has the Department of Health still not made a decision on what to do with the documents, despite being aware of them for a number of years?

As part of its work, the commission requested information on three confirmed trials carried out by The Wellcome Foundation, a company that later merged with other firms to create GlaxoSmithKline.

These trials involved 211 infants and babies and were carried out in mother and baby homes and children’s residential homes across the country in order to test new vaccines.

It remains unclear whether the parents or guardians of the children involved had consented to the trials or whether the company had complied with Irish licensing legislation.

As well as these tests, details of further, previously unknown trials, were also handed over to the commission by GlaxoSmithKline. A brief — and unreported — paragraph in the commission’s Third Interim Report, published in January 2004, confirmed the receipt of the additional documents.

“The documentation discovered by GlaxoSmithKline also disclosed a considerable amount of information in relation to other vaccine trials in the State,” the report said.

Documents

It stated that no decision had been taken on whether the extra trials could be investigated. In the end, no such investigation took place.

In June 2006, Ms Harney instructed departmental officials to discuss with the commission what should be done with the documents.

A spokeswoman for the commission confirmed that no decision was ever made.

The commission is not at liberty to release the files publicly without the approval of the department.

Adoption agencies last night led calls for an independent inquiry into the vaccine trials.

Susan Lohan, co-founder of the Adoption Rights Alliance, said: “I’m flabbergasted that the State and the adoption authority didn’t know the extent to which vaccine trials were being used in this country.

“I am calling on the Government to ask the commission to hand over this new evidence to an independent inquiry, where it can be investigated immediately and authoritatively.”

Fine Gael children’s spokesman Charlie Flanagan said: “The Government needs to direct the commission to hand over this new evidence to be examined by the Oireachtas Health Committee.

“Then, based on the outcome of this, a national investigation needs to be held in order to gauge the extent of the vaccine scandal.”

A spokeswoman for the commission said last night that it was prevented from investigating the vaccine trials on foot of two court cases taken by the doctors involved in the tests.

The vaccine module of the commission was closed down by Health Minister Mary Harney in 2006 on foot of that legal action.

Ms Harney said the issue of the vaccine trials was no longer a matter for the commission, which issued a report last year and is no longer investigating abuse claims.

She refused to comment the calls for an independent inquiry or for the referral of the documents to the Oireachtas Health Committee.

- Patricia McDonagh

Irish Independent

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Category: Vaccine Trials

10 comments on “More vaccine trials were kept secret by the State

  1. the government (political party) has screwed the state’s child abuse victims (again)

  2. medical records are evidence. evidence has been covered up (destroyed). the state is guilty of serial child abuse (certain political parties directly involved).

  3. hi pauline fully agree the nuns the nspcc the garda ,priests , the health board the goverment and the courts need to be accountable for their crimes against children i remember having injections still do not know what they were for ? we were guinea pigs the drug companies are also guilty .they have all gotten awat with far too much and should be brought to book !as for the trust fund who are these people to answer for us ! fellow survivors ect it is not right ! and more so its not justice i am in australia at the moment and there is a lady here sueing her boss for 20 million for sexual harrasment !!!!!!!!!! we lost out big style !

  4. Pauline.
    Thank you for your kind words.
    We have allowed Ireland to abuse us once again, with the Inquirie into Child Abuse. It was a cover up and shamefully so. That includes the Religious, (so called holy people) The Government, The Judicial Services and we must not forget the N.S.P.C.C. “THE CRUELTY MAN” we all remember that threat, to date this organisation has not so much as offered an apology absolutely nothing. Perhaps when enough of us speak out we will force a response. Get those fingers tapping on your keyboards.
    SO COME ON REMEMBER. “UNITED WE STAND DIVIDED WE FALL”.
    Kathleen O’Malley.

  5. hello kathleen i have to admit that i admire you. Getting both feet into the world of justice. So many of us are so frightened of these people. i would be happy to be represented by people such as you and paddy . you know things from the inside. thats the big differce with the politions.

  6. right you are everything should be brought into the open now. i also remember a doctor coming to g b in about 1953. we were lined up and injected. many of the kids became ill and we stoped work because of outsiders coming in .but the medicine tasted nice .
    whatever it was the doctor did not say a word to any of us so we never knew what the injecton was for .

  7. How many survivors children were born with health problems ,this should be looked at .where are all our medical records , Hospital Records if we spent time in hospital as a child .I know Doctors came to goldenbridge gave us injections and pink stuff we were sent to bed I remember the metal taste we have a right to know .

  8. “SHAME ON IRELAND”
    THE TRUTH WILL OUT.
    AS REQUESTED TIME AND TIME AGAIN FOR AN INDEPENDENAT BODY TO INVESTIGATE THE ABUSE IN IRELAND. THE “COMMISSION INTO CHILD ABUSE” WAS A COMPLETE COVER UP. THE REDRESS BOARD WAS A DISGRACE, WHEN A SURVIVOR REJECTED THEIR “AWARD” HE OR SHE WAS TOLD BY THEIR LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE THE AMOUNT WOULD BE REDUCED. THE VACCINE TRIALS, ALSO WERE PUSHED UNDER THE CARPET FOR FEAR OF A LAW SUIT. AGAIN IRELAND HAS SHOWN ITS SELF FOR WHAT IT TRULY IS. ALL OF THE INDUSTRIAL SCHOOLS WERE TO BE INVESTIGATED ALAS THIS DID NOT TAKE PLACE AND HOW MUCH MONEY DID THE TAX PAYER HAVE TO FORK OUT. C.0.R.I. WERE EXEMPT THEY MUST NOW BE MADE TO ACCOUNT FOR THEIR VILE ACTS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE. I AGREE WITH ROB, RE THEIR ASSETS ETC. THE WORLD SHOULD ASK WHY? IT IS NOW TIME TO DEMAND A PROPER INQUIRIE. IRELAND HAS EGG ON ITS FACE. WE NEED MORE JOURNALISTS TO EXPOSE THIS WRONG DOING.
    KATHLEEN O’MALLEY.

  9. There needs to be a full investigation! The Indenity deal made with C.O.R.I. needs to be revoked and the Government need to take all their assets and Trust Funds, and other legal entities that they have created to hide thier true wealth and distribute it!

  10. if thay dont know what to do with all these documents may i suggest that thay bublish them so that we all know whats going on

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