Pharma Giant Refuses to Pay Reparations for Vaccine Trials on Children

A sign outside the headquarter offices of GlaxoSmithKline Plc in the Brentford district of
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A leading pharmaceutical giant has rejected calls from the Irish government to pay reparations for vaccine trials conducted on children.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a British-headquartered pharmaceutical giant, has rejected private calls from the Irish government to pay reparations for vaccine trials performed on vulnerable children.

Seven vaccine trials are said to have been undertaken by historic companies linked to the modern GSK corporation at Ireland’s Mother and Baby homes facilities, which were set up to look after unmarried women and their children throughout the 20th century.

The institutions have since been found to have not been suitable for these mothers and their children, with a government report in 2021 finding that some women did suffer emotional and sometimes physical abuse within the system

Also discovered by the government investigation was that at least seven vaccine trials took place at these Mother and Baby homes, with it reportedly being found that these trials were not in compliance with regulations in place at the time, with consent allegedly not being obtained from the mothers of the children tests were performed on.

As a result, the Irish government has been keen to get the modern GSK to contribute to reparation efforts for the families involved in the trials, with over 1,000 babies thought to have been the subject of pharmaceutical research which also saw milk formulas tested on them.

The government has called on the pharma giant to “do the right thing” over the scandal by making funding available for children who were involved in the trials.

However, according to a report by the Irish Times, GSK remains adamant that it will not pay reparations for the trials, which have been linked to the corporation, arguing in revealed documents that the trials were by “legacy companies” Wellcome and Glaxo, and that the local researchers in charge of the vaccine trials on the children were “personally responsible” for ensuring that the trials were done legally.

“While the findings of the commission’s report are extremely upsetting, they do not question Wellcome or Glaxo’s responsibilities and duties in developing, manufacturing and supplying vaccines for the purposes described above,” a letter sent to the Irish government in 2021 reportedly reads.

“For that reason, we do not propose to pay reparations in response to the issues raised in the report,” the document obtained recently via Freedom of Information goes on to claim.

According to the Irish Times, state efforts to get GSK to hand over reparations for the children involved in the trial come amid larger efforts to give redress to those victimised by the Mother and Baby institutions.

With the 2021 report criticising the homes as having an “appallingly-high death rate” for infant children, the government has continued to push for compensation for those involved amounting to a total of €800 million (~£710 million/$850 million).

The government managed to get such a redress scheme which aims to compensate children who spent six months or longer in one of these homes through a parliamentary vote only last week, though some opposition politicians have argued that the compensation scheme should be made even broader.

The plan will now be seen by Ireland’s Senate, where it will be further debated before being voted upon by the upper house.

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