Two Yorba Linda biomedical procurement companies have reached a $7.8 million settlement with the Orange County, California, district attorney’s office following allegations they illegally profited from the sale of fetal tissue.
The settlement requires DaVinci Biosciences and DV Biologics — a sister company — to permanently close its operations in California and pay $7.8 million through donations and biological materials to a medical school, reports the Orange County Register.
The companies are also required to admit liability and to pay $195,000 in civil penalties.
“This settlement seized all profits from DV Biologics and DaVinci Biosciences, which they acquired by viewing body parts as a commodity and illegally selling fetal tissues for valuable consideration,” District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said.
The civil lawsuit accused the companies of profiting from at least 500 sales to research laboratories between 2012 and 2015 and selling the fetal body parts for a profit of more than $1.5 million from 2013 to 2015.
The Register reported in October 2016:
According to the lawsuit, the companies hired sales and marketing staffers and pushed them to meet revenue goals through discount promotions such as “summer sales” and coupons; the products were advertised in catalogs, brochures and other materials.
“It costs us roughly $25 per unit to manufacture, and we are selling from $170,” one employee wrote in an email, according to the lawsuit.
From 2009 to 2015, the companies collected $56,678 in “packing and handling” fees marked up by roughly 50 percent over the actual cost of packaging and handling, according to the suit.
Employees were paid a commission on profits they earned from the packing and handling charges, the lawsuit says.
Some products were allegedly sold to different customers at different prices.
DaVinci Biosciences is owned by three members of the Isaias family – Andres, Luis, and Estefano. Two of them also own DV Biologics.
The lawsuit followed a year of congressional investigation into allegations that Planned Parenthood sold aborted fetal tissue and organs to biomedical companies for profit.
While much of the focus of the allegations brought by pro-life organization Center for Medical Progress (CMP) has been on Planned Parenthood’s relationship with biomedical procurement company StemExpress, lead investigator at CMP David Daleiden noted that Planned Parenthood of Orange & San Bernardino Counties (PPOSBC) is “longtime baby body parts business partners” with “sister companies DaVinci Biosciences and DV Biologics.”
“The DaVinci companies’ admission of guilt for selling baby parts from Planned Parenthood is a ringing vindication of CMP’s citizen journalism methods and accuracy,” said Daleiden in a statement about the settlement:
In light of the news that Planned Parenthood is now under federal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice for the sale of fetal body parts, the next step is for Planned Parenthood of Orange & San Bernardino Counties to be held accountable under the law for their 7-year-long aiding, abetting, and profiting in DaVinci’s criminal scheme to sell baby parts for profit.
The House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives investigated the allegations into the fetal tissue sales of Planned Parenthood and its biomedical partners. In response to the announcement about the filing of the Orange County lawsuit last year, panel chairwoman Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) said:
Documents produced to the Panel show that, from 2008 through 2015, DaVinci Biosciences obtained its fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties (PPOSBC). DaVinci has told the Panel that PPOSBC “donated” the fetal tissue. But DaVinci has also told the Panel that its executives contributed thousands of dollars to PPOSBC starting before the Planned Parenthood affiliate began “donating” fetal tissue to DaVinci. Planned Parenthood has said PPOSBC was its only affiliate that gave fetal tissue directly to a research company.
Blackburn said the panel’s investigation showed the relationship between Planned Parenthood and DaVinci “appears to have created a market for the donation of human fetal tissue.”
Last week, Fox News reported the Department of Justice had formally launched a federal investigation into Planned Parenthood’s fetal tissue practices.