AIDS Healthcare Foundation: Glaxo Forces NYC Foster Kids Into AIDS Drug Trials

BBC's 'Guinea Pig Kids' Documentary Fingers Glaxo in Experimental Drug

Scandal; AIDS Healthcare Foundation Calls for Swift FDA Action

What: Media Availability with Michael Weinstein, President, AIDS

Healthcare Foundation (+1-323-810-1238 int'l mobile). In

anticipation of BBC2 documentary 'Guinea Pig Kids' airing

tonight in UK

When: US Availability TUESDAY, NOV 30TH, 8:00 am-12:00 noon EST

Contacts: Michael Weinstein, President, AHF. Mobile: +1-323-810-1238

(from Wash DC)

Marissa Parsons, Public Affairs Coordinator, AHF

(w) 1-323-860-5236, (m) +1-213-842-4000

Nov 30, 2004, 00:00 ET from AIDS Healthcare Foundation

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the
 US' largest AIDS organization, which also operates treatment clinics in
 Africa, Central America and Asia, today released this statement in response to
 a recent Independent (UK) article reporting that pharmaceutical giant
 GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) will be accused of backing drug trials in the US in
 which underprivileged children were forced to test AIDS treatments against
 their will.  The accusations are lodged in a BBC2 News Documentary scheduled
 to air tonight in the UK.
     "These are very serious allegations and we will have to wait to see the
 facts play out," said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare
 Foundation.  "If this is true, this is a modern day Tuskegee, when African
 American men with Syphilis were left untreated by physicians in order to see
 how the disease would progress.  GSK is being accused of exploiting one of our
 most vulnerable populations."
     The Independent Online article, published on November 27th, precedes a
 BBC2 documentary, 'Guinea Pig Kids,' scheduled to air Tuesday evening, states
 that the program implicates GSK in clinical trials forcing AIDS drugs on
 deprived children in New York.  According to the article the trials have been
 taking place under the auspices of the Administration for Children's Services
 (ACS), the body that is charged with looking after the welfare of children in
 New York.  In some cases children were removed from foster homes when foster
 parents refused to give children the drugs and in other cases children were
 physically forced by ACS to take the drugs.  GSK admits that it supplied drugs
 for the trials and knew about the clinical trial design but denies direct
 involvement.  GSK responded by saying the "Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
 encouraged the studies and that clinical trials involving children and orphans
 are legal and not unusual."
     "On the heels of the withdrawal of Vioxx and the flu vaccine shortage,
 issues that have been at the forefront of the media, this is yet another
 disconcerting red flag that sweeps away any faith that people may have left in
 our current system.  Even with the layers upon layers of bureaucracy that
 surround this issue, from the welfare administration in New York, to the
 corrupt drug companies, and now to the FDA -- whose purpose is to ensure safe
 and effective drugs for Americans -- we are still not safe.  This issue should
 be closely scrutinized and necessary action must be taken -- the FDA must
 re-examine this issue, and in turn we need to re-examine the effectiveness of
 the FDA," said Weinstein.

SOURCE AIDS Healthcare Foundation