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Wednesday, April 9, 2003

Latest French Scandal: Poisoning the Third World With AIDS

We didn't think it was possible, but it seems the French are even more degenerate than previously believed: A Paris judge has opened an inquiry into allegations a French company exported HIV-tainted blood to impoverished nations.


The investigation into this long-running scandal is prompted by charges filed in November by a Tunisian couple whose son died 14 years ago. The death of 19-year-old Abdelkader Fradi in Sousse, Tunisia, was officially blamed on a "cerebral hemorrhage." But the young hemophiliac had in fact contracted the AIDS virus, a taboo subject in Tunisia, his parents say.

According to French news reports, the Sousse hospital that cared for him used unheated blood products up to 1986, and possibly 1987, coming from the French company Merieux.

"The parents want to know whether the blood contamination of their child was due to a non-preventable accident or to bad administration of the blood products," Francois Honnorat, the Paris lawyer for the Fradis, told United Press International today.

"We know very well Merieux marketed products that were not tested and not heated in a number of countries. They recognized it in fact," Honnorat fumed. "The problem is the receivers never had sufficient proof to identify the products."

Merieux now goes by the name of Adventis-Pasteur. Contacted today at their headquarters in Lyon, company spokesmen would not talk.

"The inquiry marks the first foray into whether a major French blood scandal may have caused illness and death overseas," UPI reported. "More than 4,000 people were infected with the AIDS virus in France more than a decade ago, before tainted blood products were withdrawn. The scandal implicated major French politicians, leading doctors and Health Ministry officials.

"In 1999, a special court acquitted former French Prime Minister Laurent Fabius, and the country's former social affairs minister. A former health minister, Edmond Herve, was convicted but not sentenced. In July, a French appeals court dismissed another trial implicating 30 people, sparking outrage."

If even the French are finally outraged at their own atrocities, this one's going to get even uglier.


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