Tuesday, October 6, 2009

“Medicine Mafia” Supplies Fake Drugs to 50 Trade Union Hospitals

Lives at Risk – In the Name of Greed

Corruption, greed, and scandal have hit the headlines in Argentina. The crowds stand accusingly of those in charge of protecting them. The sense of betrayal can be heard in their voices as they scream “Assassin!” as the deputy director of a union health clinic is arrested by police for distributing fake medication to cancer, AIDS, hemophiliacs and other severe illnesses.

The majority of Argentina's workforce gets healthcare through schemes run by their respective trade unions. A group of pharmaceutical businessmen, now dubbed the 'medicine mafia' have been accused of distributing fake, expired, stolen, and counterfeit medication to union-run hospitals.

One union official, Hugo Dessal, who blew the whistle on the operation, asks why both union-run hospitals and regulatory officials did not question the hundreds of adverse reactions reported in the last five years. Doctors and cancer patients became suspicious when medications did not cause hair loss.

Investigators are now looking into a total of 50 trade unions suspected of purchasing the fake medication either knowingly or unknowingly. The scandal deepens as other union and government officials are investigated including the president of the Bank Clerk Union, the wife of a murdered pharmaceutical company owner, and even president Cristina Kirchner, whose election campaign funds may have benefited from the sale of these adulterated drugs. It impossible to say how long this has been going on, but tens of thousands are expected to have consumed fake drugs.

And the whole incident leaves many asking the question - How many have died in the name of GREED?

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