various articles by the Coalition against BAYER dangers
Scandalous Marketing Practices for BAYER Chemicals In Central America
A report of a journey by Philipp Mimkes.
Even in the smallest Central American village so-called agrarian centres for pesticides and spray-machines can be found. Most of them are painted in the colours green and blue, belonging to the BAYER Company. The shop-owners receive credits from the pesticide wholesalers, and in return mainly sell the brand their creditor offers. The strongest poisons available on the world market are on offer. These include the BAYER products NEMACUR, FOLIDOL, DISYSTON, TAMARON, LEBAYCID, CUPRAVIT and many other substances, which have been partly classified as "extremely dangerous" by the WHO. Very often the shop assistants are young temporary workers who are not informed at all about the dangerous chemicals. In most cases safety data sheets do not exist. Nevertheless all these products are easy to obtain. Generally they are handled with great carefreeness, which is certainly supported by colourful advertisements. Considering all this, BAYER's assurances that all products are sold to licensed users by trained personnel sound rather cynical. In Antigua/Guatemala I had a most incredible experience: In a "centro agricola" I saw open sacks containing the notorious NEMACUR, which is associated with the Spanish toxic oil-syndrome and with the death of many people in the so-called Third World. A glance at a specialist book on toxicology reveals alarming facts: 500 mg NEMACUR can kill an adult! In the "centro agricola" NEMACUR was taken from the open sacks with a scoop and filled in bags, just like the fruit-seller next door did with the (sprayed) fruits.
Efforts of the international community of states to classify pesticides according to their dangerousness and to give rules of conduct for the sale of these pesticides are ridiculed by such an irresponsible export. It is true that BAYER signed the FAO-Code, which postulates that export is only allowed to countries where complete consumer protection is guaranteed. But paper won't blush. For products like NEMACUR and FOLIDOL, which are classified as "extremely dangerous" according to the WHO, the FAO-Code lays down the following: "Sale only allowed to professional users with a personal licence for the corresponding pesticide, for whom the use of pesticides is an essential part of their work. Use of pesticides with protective clothing, protection for hands, eyes, feet, and breathing only." As a matter of fact pesticide customers in Central America hardly ever possess a personal licence and do not wear protective clothing due to the tropical climate. Nevertheless BAYER has been refusing for years to stop further sales of these neurotoxins. On the contrary: aggressive marketing is to guarantee that in future airplanes will continue spraying liquefied pesticides evenly over plantations and villages. Small wonder that the WHO estimates that at least two million people get poisoned by pesticides each year.
Pills Without In-Pack Leaflets
In many countries of the so-called Third World BAYER sells drugs which differ from the drugs available under the same name in Germany, e.g. ASPIRIN FORTE. It contains more active substance and caffeine than the ASPIRIN FORTE sold in Germany. The ingredients of CAFIASPIRINA and YASTA can only be guessed. CAFIASPIRINA comes in a paper wrapping containing eight pills. What usually goes with pharmaceutical preparations in Germany and other countries, i.e. a little cardboard box and in-pack leaflets about risks and side-effects, has been dispensed with. The paper wrapping of CAFIASPIRINA tells only that the drug is a painkiller. The unit packings of YASTA pills do bear an imprint which is so small that it is unreadable. The drug name ASPIRINA PARA NINOS is particularly misleading. Like CAFIASPIRINA and YASTA it is sold without restrictions. The expression "PARA NINOS" suggests that the drug was especially designed for children. A warning printed in small letters explains cryptically that under certain circumstances ASPIRINA PARA NINOS may be unsuitable for children under 12. In Germany BAYER had to take this preparation (trade name ASPIRIN JUNIOR) off the market after vigorous protests. ASPIRIN JUNIOR is suspected of triggering off the dangerous Reye-syndrome, which often ends fatally.
The Case Hugo Princz: BAYER Fights Charge
US-citizen Hugo Princz, slave worker at the German IG FARBEN from 1943 until 1945, demands compensation from BAYER, BASF, and HOECHST. The American Court of Appeal granted the lawsuit in autumn 1994. KEYCODE BAYER received the following information from the USA: Until the actual beginning of the trial in 1996 a series of preliminary investigations will take place. It is expected that BAYER and the other two companies will press for an early discontinuation of the proceedings because they assert that they are not legal successors to IG FARBEN. To evade this manoeuvre Mr Princz's lawyers are not only compiling all interconnections between the IG FARBEN and the Nazi state, but the interrelation between IG FARBEN and BAYER; BASF, and HOECHST as well. In autumn 1995 a hearing will take place in court during which these questions will be dealt with and the continuation of the proceedings will be decided on . For the following six months the lawyers can request documents from the accused companies. Questions concerning the case have to be answered on oath. The past has shown that this proceeding is helpful in that a lot of information, which otherwise would have been withheld by the companies, reaches the public, e.g. during the spectacular trials against the tobacco industry.
Continuity At BAYER
More than 90% of the IG FARBEN assets went to BAYER, BASF, and HOECHST in the early fifties. Until the end of the forties the IG FARBEN factories, which remained miraculously unharmed during W W II, had reached their pre-war production level to the benefit of the follow-up companies. Nevertheless BAYER's Managing Board insists to this day: "We are not the successors to IG FARBEN." A glimpse at old company reports reveals the contrary: Many members of the IG FARBEN Managing Board and Supervisory Board turned up in the executive floor again after some time. The most spectacular case was that of Fritz ter Meer, member of the IG FARBEN Managing Board and responsible for the BUNA plant in Auschwitz. In 1956 he became Chairman of BAYER's Supervisory Board and held this position until 1964. Even in small details the denied continuity becomes obvious, e.g. in Heinrich Hoerlein's obituary notice printed in the BAYER company report of 1954. Hoerlein had been made Head of the Pharmaceutical Research at BAYER/Elberfeld in 1910 and held a key position as a director and later at the Managing Board and Supervisory Board. His obituary notice lists as his first merit: "Former Member of the IG FARBEN Managing Board." At least then BAYER had less problems with its continuity ...
Triumphal March For ASPIRIN
This year's turnover for ASPIRIN is expected to be 750 million German marks. One reason for this commercial success is that more and more people become addicted to ASPIRIN as a legal drug. BAYER itself takes care that more and more additional areas of application are being propagated, e.g. in treating cardiac diseases, circulatory disturbances and as a prophylactic against heart attacks and brain infarcts. The American Cancer Society alleges that ASPIRIN can lower the deadly risk of colon cancer. In Germany the Fraunhofer Institute of Toxicology and Molecular Biology asserts that ASPIRIN shows preventive effects against infections. Anyhow, it has to be considered that many researchers are directly financed through BAYER research funds, which will, of course, influence the findings. Apart from the addictive effects the side effects of ASPIRIN are also more dangerous than generally assumed. Bleedings, stomach ulcers and even the Reye syndrome, which occurs in children and often ends fatally, have been observed. (see also "Pills Without In-Pack Leaflets")
Big Pharmaceuticals Companies Demand Protection By Patent
The governments of so-called Third World countries are under pressure from the pharmaceuticals companies, because they want the governments to make sure that licence fees for imitation products will be paid to the companies. At present President Bill Clinton and the European Community exert increased pressure on Argentina and Brazil in favour of the international pharmaceuticals industry. Physicist Ennio Candotti, President of the Brazilian Society of Science and Research, calls it a storm in a teacup, because the international companies already have a firm hold on 80% of the Brazilian pharmaceuticals market. The Brazilian worker's party PT considers the increased pressure from the pharmaceuticals lobby simply as a means to maintain the unfair world economic order.
Unreliable Big Seller
One of the world's best-selling drugs, BAYER's calcium antagonist ADALAT (active substance: NIFIDIPIN), seems to be a medical flop which can even lead to patients' death. For more than a year Prof. Bruce Psaty (Washington University/Seattle) had compared the medical history of more than 2.500 patients who had been treated with different preparations. It turned out that the test group which took ADALAT and other similiar acting drugs had a 60% higher chance of suffering a heart attack than the comparative group, which had been treated alternatively with hypotensive beta blockers and diuretics. "We are very much concerned about these findings", says Prof. Psaty. BAYER, however, regards the American study as not serious. Dr. Morich, Head of the Pharmaceutical Research, returned that many studies had proved ADALAT's reliability. Prof. Karl Rahn, President of the German League Against Hyper-Tension, on the other hand said that if Prof. Psaty's findings proved true, the present mode of prescription had to be altered.
New Purchases Planned
The BAYER trust is so immensely rich that it can afford to buy even more companies. Thus BAYER's future strategy is to buy resp. to become shareholder of mainly small US-American genetic engineering firms with intensive research. BAYER already holds shares in more than 20 companies with an investment between 20 and 100 million US-dollars.
Anti-Cold Drug Produced By Means Of Genetic Engineering
BAYER has developed a nasal spray by means of genetic engineering for people who have caught a cold. The spray has been tested on chimpanzees and is to undergo clinical trials in 1996, as US-Prof. George A. Scangos, responsible for BAYER's Pharmaceutical Biology Dept., announced. BAYER maintains that genetic engineering is indispensable, but this example shows for what kind of application genetic engineering is used. Almost every human catches a cold at least once a year. This is not only comparatively harmless but also very useful in that it stimulates the human immune system permanently. Once again it turns out that pharmaceutical research does not strive to develop preparations for the benefit of mankind, but to increase profits.