History of the Drug Trust
In 1987, the eighteen largest drug firms were ranked as follows:
- Merck (U.S.) $4.2 billion in sales.
- Glaxo Holdings (United Kingdom) $3.4 billion.
- Hoffman LaRoche (Switzerland) $3.1 billion.
- Smith Kline Beckman (U.S.) $2.8 billion.
- Ciba-Geigy (Switzerland) $2.7 billion.
- Pfizer (U.S.) $2.5 billion (Standard & Poor’s gives its sales as $4 billion).
- Hoechst A. G. (Germany) $2.5 billion (Standard & Poor’s lists its sales as $38 billion Deutschmarks).
- American Home Products (U.S.) $2.4 billion ($4.93 billion according to Standard & Poor’s).
- Lilly (U.S.) $2.3 billion ($3.72 billion Standard & Poor’s).
- Upjohn (U.S.) $2 billion.
- Squibb (U.S.) $2 billion.
- Johnson & Johnson (U.S.) $1.9 billion.
- Sandoz (Switzerland) $1.8 billion.
- Bristol Myers (U.S.) $1.6 billion.
- Beecham Group (United Kingdom) $1.4 billion (Standard & Poor’s gives $1.4 billion in sales of the U.S. subsidiary— $2.6 billion pounds sterling as overall income).
- Bayer A. G. (Germany) $1.4 billion (Standard & Poor’s gives the figure as $45.9 billion Deutschmarks).
- Syntex (U.S.) $1.1 billion.
- Warner Lambert (U.S.) $1.1 billion (Standard & Poor’s gives the figure as $3.1 billion).
Thus we find that the United States still maintains an overwhelming lead in the production and sale of drugs. In the United States, the sale of prescription drugs rose in 1987 by 12.5% to $27 billion.
Eleven of the eighteen leading firms are located in the United States; three in Switzerland; two in Germany; and two in the United Kingdom. Nutritionist T. J. Frye notes that the Drug Trust in the United States is controlled by the Rockefeller group in a cartel relationship with I. G. Farben of Germany.
In fact, I. G. Farben was the largest chemical concern in Germany during the 1930s, when it engaged in an active cartel agreement with Standard Oil of New Jersey.
The Allied Military Government split it up into three companies after World War II, as part of the “anti-cartel” goals of that period, which was not unlike the famed splitting up of Standard Oil itself by court order, while the Rockefellers maintained controlling interest in each of the new companies. In Germany, General William Draper, of Dillon Read investment bankers, unveiled the new decree from his office in the I. G. Farben building.
Henceforth, I. G. Farben would exist no more; instead, three companies would emerge—Bayer, of Leverkusen; BASF at Ludwigshafen; and Hoescht, near Frankfort. Each of the three spawns is now larger than the old I. G. Farben; only ICI of England is larger. These firms export more than half of their product. BASF is represented in the United States by Shearman and Sterling, the Rockefeller law firm of which William Rockefeller is a partner.
The world’s No. 1 drug firm, Merck, began as an apothecary shop in Darmstadt, Germany, in 1668. Its president, John J. Horan, is a partner of J. P. Morgan Company, and the Morgan Guaranty Trust. He attended a Bilderberger meeting in Rye, New York, May 10-12, 1985. In 1953, Merck absorbed another large drug firm, Sharp & Dohme. At that time, Oscar Ewing, the central figure in the government fluoridation promotion for the Aluminum Trust, was secretary of the Merck firm, his office then being at One Wall Street, New York.
Directors of Merck include John T. Connor, who began his business career with Cravath, Swaine and Moore, the law firm for Kuhn, Loeb Company; Connor then joined the Office of Naval Research, became Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Navy 1945-47, became president of Merck, then president of Allied Stores from 1967-80, then chairman of Schroders, the London banking firm. Connor is also a director of a competing drug firm, Warner Lambert, director of the media conglomerate Capital Cities ABC, and director of Rockefeller’s Chase Manhattan Bank.
Each of the major drug firms in the United States has at least one director with close Rockefeller connections, or with a Rothschild bank. Another director of Merck is John K. McKinley, chief operating officer of Texaco; he is also a director of Manufacturers Hanover Bank, which Congressional records identify as a major Rothschild bank.
The history of the pharmaceutical drug business has always been a chronicle of fraud, of preying on the fears of the uneducated and the gullible and taking advantage of the universal fears of the illness and death.
The grand daddy of all nostrums is Goddard’s drops, a bone distillate which was sold as a cure for gout in England in 1673. In 1711, Tuscarora rice was sold there as a cure for consumption. During some four thousand years of the practice of pharmaceutical prescriptions, many “cures” have been found to be worse than the disease. William Shakespeare warned, “In Physic there is Poison.”
Dr. R. R. Dracke, well known blood specialist in Atlanta, also issued a warning that,
“the following notable drugs may poison the marrow in the bones, decrease the production of white blood cells, may cause death and should be taken as medicine only with specific instruction from a well known doctor—amidopyrene, dinitrophenol (a diet drug), novaldine, antipyrene, sulphanilamide, sedormid and salvarsen.”
Physicians have warned that no acetanilid is safe, because all coal tar derivatives are powerful heart depressants.
Rorer Pharmaceuticals makes Ascriptin, and television advertisements have been urging men to take an aspirin or aspirin product daily “to protect their heart.” The attorneys general of Texas and New York have requested drug firms to halt the claim that aspirin may prevent heart attacks in men; it also reduces fever and makes it difficult for a physician to correctly diagnose pneumonia.
The William S. Merrell Company, merged with Vick Chemical, marketed thalidomide as the “tranquilizer of the future.” It guaranteed control of unpleasant symptoms during pregnancy. Unfortunately, the children of mothers who took it were born without arms or legs; some had flippers for arms. 60 Minutes recently presented a twenty-five year update on English victims of thalidomide, carefully avoiding any treatment of American victims.
The program showed the astounding courage of the victims, who tried to carry on daily life, while the reporters seemed hard put to keep from bursting into laughter at the strange beings who rolled around like human eggs, maneuvering frantically to stay right side up. CBS also avoided any mention of the names of the manufacturers or distributors of thalidomide, although a typical operation of their brand of “adversary journalism” would have been to thrust a microphone into the face of the firm’s chairman, and demand to know why they didn’t realize this was a dangerous drug.
CBS depends heavily on advertising revenues from the pharmaceutical manufacturers, and they are not about to offend their best customers.
William S. Merrell also produced MER/29, which was advertised as breakthrough in anticholesterol drugs. It was soon found that MER/29 caused dermatitis, changing color of hair, loss of sex drive and a condition known as “alligator skin.”
In 1949, Parke-Davis’ chloromycetin was hailed as the new wonder drug. Several doctors were persuaded to give it to their children, who then died of leukemia. 75% of the cases of aplastic anemia resulting from the administration of chloromycetin were fatal. Dr. H. A. Hooks of El Paso lost his seven and a half year old son, after he had been assured by a Parke-Davis representative that the drug was safe.
In December 1963, a Washington grand jury indicted Richard Merrell and chairman William S. Merrell for falsifying date to the FDA on MER/29. They filed a “no contest” plea and on June 4, 1964 were fined the maximum fine, $80,000. Parke-Davis defense counsel was a former federal judge from 1957 to 1960, Lawrence Walsh, who is now much in the news as the White Knight who is prosecuting political figures on vague charges of malfeasance.
After an oral contraceptive pill was found to cause severe reactions, the American Medical Association put great pressure on Dr. Roger Hegeberg, Assistant Secretary of HEW and the Secretary of HEW, Finch, claiming they were “over-emphasizing dangers”; the warning on the pill was then cut from 600 words to only 96 much milder words; this warning was increased by Secretary Finch himself of April 7, 1970 to 120 words of warning, which was released personally by Finch.
The pill was then found to cause fatal blood clotting, heart attack and cancer. The behavior of the AMA in this instance contrasted strangely with its violent attacks for many years on “quacks,” who it protested were the real dangers to the public.
Hoffman LaRoche marketed an intravenous drug, Versed, which was linked to forty deaths in two years by FDA studies. Richter’s definitive work, “Pills, Pesticides and Profits,” notes that a U.S. company, Velsicol, sold three million pounds of a pesticide, Phosvel (leptophos), which had never been approved by the EPA.
Velsicol exported it to thirty countries. It causes extensive damage to the nervous system. In Egypt, it killed one hundred water buffalo and poisoned dozens of farmers. Velsicol is a subsidiary of Northwest Industries, a three billion dollars a year operation in Chicago whose chairman is longtime rail magnate, Ben Heinemann, a trustee of the University of Chicago, and the First Chicago Corporation.
Directors of Northwest Industries are James E. Dovitt, director of Hart, Schaffner and Marx, president of Mutual of New York, and director of MONY; he is also a director of National Can. Other directors of Northwest are William B. Graham, chairman of Baxter Travenol Drug Company, also a trustee of the University of Chicago, director of Deere, Field Enterprises, Bell & Howell and Borg-Warner; National Council of U.S. China Trade; Thomas S. Hyland, vice president of Standard & Poor’s; Gaylord Freeman, director of Baxter Travenol and Atlantic Richfield; James F. Bere, chairman of Borg-Warner, director of Abbott Laboratories, Time, Inc., Hughes Tool Company and Continental Illinois Bank.
After TRIS, a fire-retardant chemical used in clothing, was banned in the United States, after years of enthusiastic advertising that it would save thousands of children from death by fire each year, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission banned it in 1977. 2.4 million TRIS treated garments were then exported to the Third World. In 1977, the FDA removed dipyrene from the market. It had been found to cause severe blood disorders, interfering with the white blood cell function; it was then sold widely in Latin America with no warning.
Cloquinol, a drug used to treat amoebic dysentery, produced by Ciba-Geigy in 1934 (Batero Vioform and Mexon) was found to cause a nerve disorder. Seven hundred Japanese died from taking it, after 11,000 cases of SMON, subacute myelic optic neuropathy.
Ciba-Geigy then paid a settlement to some 1500 victims and survivors. Hoechst marketed an analgesic said to be like aspirin, aminopyrein and dipyrene. It was found to cause anemia and was banned in the United States, but continued to be sold in Latin America and Asia. Chlorophenicol (chloromycetin) also is still sold in Latin America and Asia. Travellers are warned to beware of drugs in foreign countries which have long been banned in the United States.
The artificial sweetener, aspartame (Nutrasweet) has now flooded the American market. It earned $750 million for its producers in 1987, although it has come under attack as a cause of brain seizures. The debate about aspartame has been going on for thirteen years; more Congressional hearings have now been scheduled.
Meanwhile, Burroughs Wellcome hopes to make millions with its new drug for AIDS, AZT. It is said to prolong the life of AIDS victims from six months to two years. This firm is owned by the Wellcome Trust, of which Lord Franks, a director of the Rockefeller Foundation, is director.
Tranquilizers continue to be big business. Roche Labs (Hoffman LaRoche) continues to push its No. 1 seller, Valium, while promoting its other sellers, Librium, Limbitrol, Marplan, Noludar, Tractan, Clonpin and Dalmane. Roche also produces Matulane, which is used in cancer therapy. This drug causes leukopenia, anemia, and thrompenia, with side effects of nausea, vomiting, stomatitis, dysphagia, diarrhea, pain, chills, fever, sweating, drowsiness, tachycardia, bleeding and leukemia.
If an alternative health care practitioner ever dared to offer such a drug to the public, he would be incarcerated for life. We all know how dangerous “quacks” are to your health.
Roche’s medical director, Dr. Bruce Medd, hails these drugs as boons to mankind. Listen to his rhapsodizing,
“Unlike quack remedies, which are neither tested nor scientifically proven, Roche products stand for quality and efficiency. We at Roche join the fight against medical quackery and health fraud.”
Despite Dr. Medd’s assurances, the Office of Technology Assessment of the U.S. Government states that 95% of the drugs on the market have not been proven to work. Indeed, this writer has never heard of any “quack” remedy producing even a fraction of the harmful side effects as those listed above as caused by Matulane, Dr. Medd’s pride and joy.
Another firm offering “proven” drugs is Smith, Kline Beck-man, which made its initial millions from peddling the drug known as “speed” through prescriptions from doctors, the notorious Dexedrine and Dexamil. Executives of Smith, Kline Beckman have pled guilty to 34 charges of covering up 36 deaths and cases of severe kidney damage in patients using their drug Selocrin, which was finally removed from the market.
Dr. Sidney M. Wolfe, in his Health Letter, July, 1986 noted that Eli Lilly of Indiana and Smith Kline Corporation of Philadelphia pled guilty to criminal charges of failing to notify promptly the FDA of deaths and serious injuries to people using their drugs. Lilly’s Oraflex, an arthritis drug, was on the market three months and used by 600,000 Americans before it was withdrawn due to its side effects. Smith Kline’s high blood pressure, Selacryn, sold 300,000 prescriptions in eight months.
Pfizer withheld information from the FDA about Feldene (pyroxicam, an arthritis drug), despite deaths and harmful side effects in other countries. McNeil’s Suprol, approved in 1985 as an oral analgesic was found to cause kidney damage. Orudis (jetoprofen), Wyeth’s arthritis drug, increased the incidence of ulcers. Merital (nomigensine), an antidepressant produced by Hoechst, was approved by the FDA in December 1984, but had to be taken off the market in January 1986, because of fatal reactions, including hemolytic anemia. Wellbutrin (buproprion) was found to cause convulsions in women and was removed from the market in March 1986.
An officially approved “standard of care” drug for treatment of cancer of the colon is based on the use of a highly toxic chemical, 5-F-U, despite reports in prestigious medical journals that it doesn’t work. It continues to be widely used, perhaps because the American Cancer Society owns 50% of 5-F-U. Ciba-Geigy of Switzerland has found an increasing market in the U.S. public school system for its drug Ritalin, which through some alchemy has now become the principal means of controlling “hyperactive” (read healthy) school children.
Social workers had coined a new term ADD (attention defect disorder), which could be “controlled” by 20 mg tablets of Ritalin in sustained release capsules. Aided by the education establishment, which has a propensity for any drug or chemical addition to the educational process, Ritalin has had a 97% increase in use since 1985. Students are forced to take the drug, or to face immediate expulsion from school.
The Wall Street Journal, January 15, 1988, noted that a number of suits have been filed against schools by anxious parents concerning the forced use of Ritalin. The Georgia Board of Medical Examiners is now looking into the skyrocketing use of Ritalin in the schools in Atlanta’s affluent suburbs. A student now on trial for murder has entered the defense that he was on Ritalin.
Pesticides persist in being even more dangerous than insects. Lindane, (Gammelin 20), produced by Hooker Chemical, a Rockefeller connected firm, causes dizziness, brain disease, convulsions, muscle spasms, and leukemia. For years, the FDA waged a battle against Shell Oil’s pesticide strips, which contain lindane.
These strips and other vaporizers continuously emit lindane, and are widely used in restaurants, even though it had been established that lindane not only contaminates any food substance, but also any container for food which is not metal. Although these tests were concluded in 1953, the Pesticides Regulator continued to allow their use for another sixteen years!
FDA reports showed that Shell Chemical Company’s No Pest Strips continually release Vapone 3, the lindane formulation.
The Agriculture Department strictly forbade their use in meat processing plants, but the enterprising manufacturer then peddled them to restaurants. From 1965 to 1970, the U.S. Public Health Service released warnings that Shell No Pest Strips were dangerous to use in sleeping rooms of the elderly or of small children.
Dr. Roy T. Hansberry, executive of Shell Chemical, which subsidized Shell Development, served on the special Agricultural Department seven member task force to study pesticide registration procedures.
Shell had registered 250 pesticide products.
Hansberry’s personal clearance to serve on this task force carried the unsigned note,
“The Agricultural Registration Service does not have, or know of, any official business with the persons, firms or institutions with which Dr. Hansberry has other financial interests… which might conflict or constitute a conflict of interest.”
Dr. Mitchell A. Zaron, assistant health commissioner, also served as a consultant to Shell Chemical, and owned Shell Oil stock. He issued reports which purportedly showed Vapona as so safe that it required no warnings for infants, or for old or sick persons. At a meeting of the Public Health Service, he endorsed the use of Vapona strips.
John S. Leary, Jr., research division chief staff officer for Pharmacology, overruled the department’s objection to the original Shell registration of Vapona, in 1963, and continued to support the use of Vapona, until in 1966, when he resigned to join Shell Oil Company. It is estimated there have been thousands of victims each year suffering from exposure to Shell No Pest Strips.
Another pesticide, parathion, which was manufactured by Monsanto and Bayer A. G., also has had baneful side effects. The pesticide, malathion, used in Pakistan in 1976, poisoned 2,500 persons, many of whom died. And DDT, as we have noted, long after its ban in the United States, continues to find a ready market overseas, much to the profit of Monsanto, its producer.
In 1975, investigators found that two widely prescribed drugs, Adactone and Flagyl, produced by G. D. Searle Company, caused cancer in test animals. They had annual sales of $17.3 million. The firm had given FDA fraudulent data and destroyed records of tumors in mice caused by these drugs.
A Consumers Protective Message, issued from Washington March 15, 1962, noted that since 1938, manufacturers had to demonstrate the efficacy of a medicine to the government before marketing it. However, the regulation contained a significant loophole—there was no stated requirement for a demonstration of its efficacy, or to furnish evidence that the drug “will live up to its claim of its labeling.”
The Message stated,
“There is no way of measuring the needless suffering, the money innocently squandered and the protraction of illnesses resulting from the use of such inefficient drugs.”
In 1962, Congress enacted the Kefauver-Harris amendments requiring evidence of efficacy. The evidence was to be judged by the Food and Drug Administration Bureau of Medicine, but the post of chief of that bureau was vacant because Bois-feuillet Jones, special assistant for medical affairs at HEW, blocked the appointment of Dr. Charles D. May, a distinguished physician who had testified at the Kefauver hearings on the methods of the pharmaceutical manufacturers in promoting prescription drugs.
Dr. May had testified that the payola and other promotions amounted to three and a half times as much as the cost of all the educational programs in our medical schools. Jones “won the confidence of the pharmaceutical industry by blocking the appointment of Dr. May” according to a report in Drug Research Reports, June, 1964. Instead of Dr. May, Jones chose Dr. Joseph F. Sadusk, Jr. who did everything he could to thwart the efficacy legislation, according to testimony before the Senate Committee on Government Operations.
Sadusk later became a vice-president of Parke-Davis. Sadusk had prevented the recall of Parke-Davis’ antibiotic drug Chloramphenicaol, which had resulted in blood toxicity and leukopenia, before he was offered the vice-presidency of Parke-Davis. He was succeeded as medical director of the FDA by Dr. Joseph M. Pisani at the Bureau of Medicine. Pisani left to work for the Proprietary Association of Drug Manufacturers.
The next head of the Bureau of Medicine later became a top executive at Hoffman LaRoche.
Dr. Howard Cohn, former head of the FDA medical evaluation board, was offered a job at Ciba-Geigy which he accepted. Dr. Harold Anderson, chief of the FDA drug division, was given a job with Winthrop Drug Company. Morris Yakowitz found that his experience at FDA made him eligible for a job at Smith Kline and French drug firm. Allan E. Rayfield, who had been director of Regulatory Compliance, accepted a position with Richardson-Merrell, Inc.
Thus we find that the revolving door has long been a characteristic of government regulation of the pharmaceutical industry. Surgeon General Leonard Scheele became president of Warner-Lambert Research Labs; FDA Commissioner Charles C. Edwards is now listed as senior vice-president of Becton Dickinson, a large medical supply firm. Although it is hardly a household word, it does one billion dollars a year in the medical field.
Its chairman, Wesley Howe, is founding chairman of the Health Industry Manufacturers Association. FDA Commissioner James L. Goddard became chairman of the board at Ormont Drug and Chemical Company, whose president is George Goldenberg. The previously mentioned Joseph Sadusk, the top physician at FDA, after accepting a position as vice-president of Parke-Davis, later was named its president.
One might think that these gentlemen had left FDA only to find more pleasant working conditions, which were notably depressing at FDA.
Dr. Richard Crout, test director at the FDA Bureau of Drugs, addressed the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association in 1976 as follows:
“There was open drunkenness by several employees which went on for months… crippled by what some peopled called the worst personnel in government. There was intimidation internally by people, people tittering in corners, throwing spitballs; I am describing physicians, people who would slouch down in a chair, not respond to questions, moan and groan with sweeping gestures.”
(from New England Journal of Medicine, May 27, 1976)
One may ask why a government department composed of professionally educated scientists and physicians would tolerate such working conditions.
The answer is that that Medical Monopoly wanted these conditions and saw to it that they prevailed at the FDA, so as to drive away sincere, dedicated government servants who wanted only to do their job, who desired to protect the public from dangerous drugs. It seems that the most dangerous drugs are also the most profitable, because they produce dramatic, easily seen results. Unfortunately, they also tend to produce such dramatic side effects as kidney and brain damage, or sudden death.
The drug manufacturers are adept at organizing influential lobbying groups in Washington, of which the public remains unaware. Some ninety-six companies, including Dow, Monsanto, Hoffman LaRoche and many others, put up five thousand dollars each per year to support the Council of Agricultural Science and Technology and the Institute of Food Technology, groups which systematically mislead the public about the dangers of cancer-causing food additives.
They are able to minimize and weaken the frequent attempts by Congressmen to expose the dangers of many of these additives. It is all part of the game of public relations.
In the 1950s, Senator Estes Kefauver was one of the nation’s most influential politicians. It seemed certain that he was headed for the White House. However, due to a flood of complaints from his constituents about the drug industry practices of gouging the elderly and producing dangerous drugs, Kefauver scheduled comprehensive hearings before the Senate on the widespread abuses committed by the Medical Monopoly.
He even called his Subcommittee, the Senate Anti-Monopoly Subcommittee. These hearings, held during 1959 and 1960, revealed that Schering had markups of 1,118% on its drug, predisone and that other drug manufacturers routinely showed profits of from 10,000% to 20,000% on their drugs. The outcome of these hearings was the government recommendations for the promotion of “generic,” or cheaper non-brand-name, drugs for mass sales of the same drugs at cheaper prices.
Ostensibly a move to curb the excessive profits of the drug companies, the net result was that these companies showed vast increases in their volume of sales, with corresponding increase in profits. A more tragic result was that these hearings proved to be Senator Kefauver’s political Waterloo.
Stung by the publicity and the criticism which resulted from the hearings, the word went out from the Medical Monopoly, which we have shown, is not merely the officers and employees visible to the public, but the shadowy figures in the background, (many of them aliens, who control millions of shares in these companies through the practice of “street names,” concealing their power), that “Kefauver is through.”
When he inaugurated his campaign for the presidency, he found that funds had mysteriously dried up. Without money, his candidacy was doomed. Disconsolate, he abandoned his campaign for the White House and later died, some said of a broken heart. Political figures got the message; there have been no repeats of the Kefauver hearings on the abuses of the drug industry.
Individual products, such as the current furore over aspartame, may come under Congressional scrutiny, but the overall operations of the Drug Trust remain immune from Congressional investigation.
Meanwhile, the drug companies roar ahead with vast sales and record profits on their new drugs. Squibb’s Capoten, a hypertension drug, could reach $900 million in sales this year, almost a billion dollars from a single product!
Merck expects Vesoten, another hypertension drug, to reach $720 million in sales this year. In 1987, Merck had thirteen products in eight therapeutic classes which reached sales of more than $100 million each. Because of this high volume, the cost of production had dropped steadily for the major drug firms, an average of a 15% drop since 1980. In effect, this has meant an increase in profits of 15% from this single factor.
In 1987, Syntex reported that 53% of its sales volume of $1.1 billion came from just two products, Noprosyn and Ahaprox. Business Week, January 11, 1988, predicts “another gold mine for U.S. Drugmakers.” However, this gold mine would be nothing more than another dry shaft were it not for the continuing increasing prescription for these drugs to their patients by U.S. physicians.
The Medical Monopoly’s weak link is that it is almost totally dependent on doctors and hospital personnel to promote its profitable items. The $18 to $20 million expenditure required to get a new drug through the testing period of from three to twelve years is not intended to protect the public from “dangerous” new drugs. It is needed to protect the Drug Trust as long as possible, affording them the necessary time to milk their present drugs for as much sales as possible before they are replaced by newer competing drugs. It is called “protecting market share” in the business world.
It would be called a violation of the anti-trust laws were the drug firms not immune from prosecution under these statutes.
As the stock market slowly recovered from the well planned and executed Black Monday, the stock market crash of October 19, 1987, the drug firms are more than holding their own, rewarding the astute monopolists who bought in at the bottom of the market. Typical of investment policies of insurance companies are those of Equitable Life, which in 1987, had 7.8% of its assets invested in the stock of drug manufacturers, including $13 million in Marion Labs, $4 million in Merck, $7 million in Syntex and $4 million in Upjohn. Another 5.8% of its investments were in the stock of the very profitable hospital supply firms.
No chronicle of the world’s important drug firms would be complete without relating the connection between drug firms and the world drug operation known as “Dope, Inc.” It began with a small group of international financiers, headquartered in London, who officiated in the setting up of an “American” intelligence service, which was initially known as the Office of Strategic Services during World War II.
This organization was set up under the close supervision of the British Secret Intelligence Service and was later disbanded by President Truman, who was highly suspicious of its operations. The OSS then went underground at the State Department as a “research group” working on “behavioral theory.” It was led by one Evron Kirkpatrick, whose wife, Jeane Kirkpatrick, is a director of the Rockefeller financed Trotskyite group, League for Industrial Democracy and who is frequently touted as “a great anti-Communist,” the catch being that all good Trotskyites are vehemently opposed to the Moscow branch of the Communist Party.
They still mourn the passing of their leader, Leon Trotsky, who was murdered by a Stalinist agent in Mexico City in 1940. The Kirkpatrick group then resurfaced as “the Central Intelligence Agency,” headed by Allen Dulles, a partner in the Schroder Bank, the bank which had handled Adolf Hitler’s personal bank account.
Dulles’ brother, John Foster Dulles, was then Secretary of State under President Eisenhower.
Whatever interest the CIA may have had in “intelligence,” it soon became clear that its primary interest was in the realization of the enormous profits to be made in the international dope trade. Because British fortunes in the early nineteenth century had been founded in this trade, it was logical that the SIS operatives who set up our OSS, later CIA, would have been programmed to go into this business.
It later became known by the inside sobriquet, “the Company,” meaning, of course, an enterprise in which one became engaged for profit. The excuse advanced to justify going into this business was that a “stingy” Congress refused to advance enough money to the CIA to finance its covert operations; therefore a loyal CIA agent would do whatever possible to aid “the Company” to raise funds needed for this work. In fact, some of its most active agents, such as Edwin Wilson, suddenly wound up owning six million dollar estates in the developing area off the Washington Beltway, a certain indication that there was indeed a lot of money coming in from somewhere.
What is the present magnitude of the CIA world drug operation?
Lt. Col. Bo Gritz, who has thirty years of distinguished service with the United States Army Special Forces, testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee International Narcotic Task Force that 900 tons of heroin and opium would enter the free world in 1987, the source being Southeast Asia and the Golden Triangle. Col. Gritz had been to Asia a number of times to confer with one of Asia’s largest drug producers, Khun Sa. Khun Sa then laid the blame for the world drug operation squarely at the door of some well known CIA operatives, including Theodore Shackley, who served as chief of station for the CIA in Laos from 1965 to 1975.
Khun Sa stated that Shackley had worked closely with Mao Se Hung, who was then the leading drug smuggler in Southeast Asia. Another colleague of Shackley was a “civilian” named Santos Trafficante. Trafficante had long been a leading figure in the Mafia, and had been called before Congress to testify about a possible attempt on the life of Castro in Cuba. When the Communist regime took over, the Mafia lost an empire of gambling and prostitution in Havana and other cities. They sought revenge.
Trafficante was commissioned by Meyer Lansky, the Moneybags of the Syndicate, to get rid of Castro. Whether the attempt failed, or as is more likely, the Mafia came to an understanding with Castro about the dope traffic, is not yet known. Trafficante then became heavily involved in the Pacific area of the drug traffic, becoming a go-between for the Nugan Hand operation, the drug bank in Australia and the Golden Triangle.
Another prominent personality identified by Khun Sa and others as active in the drug trade was Richard Armitage, whose drug operations began during the Vietnam War. He later moved to the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok. From 1975 to 1979, according to witnesses, he used his embassy position to carry on drug operations.
He then left that post, establishing the Far East Trading Corporation in Bangkok. Armitage was later appointed by President Reagan as Assistant Secretary of Defense in charge of International Security Affairs, reporting directly to the Secretary of Defense, Casper Weinberger. Business tycoon Ross Perot then learned of Armitage’s history. He went to the White House, demanding that Armitage be fired. He talked to George Bush, former head of the CIA, who gave him the brush-off by sending him to FBI Director William Webster (shortly afterwards, Webster was quietly appointed head of the CIA).
Webster refused to act on Perot’s complaints, which opened the door for his appointment to the CIA post. Meanwhile, Weinberger, fearful that the role of the Defense Department in the drug scandal was about to unfold, hastily resigned. He was succeeded by Frank Carlucci, who was then serving as National Security Advisor, and who was well versed in the entire operation.
Carlucci personally ordered Perot to drop his crusade against Armitage. Because Perot’s fortune had been built on huge government contracts, he had no choice but to back off. Other personages involved were General Richard Secord, who surfaced as a figure in the Iran-Contra affair, who had boasted of flying plane loads of gold to Southeast Asia to pay off the drug smugglers.
The daytime soap opera known as the Iran-Contra affair was made to order for the secretive operatives of the CIA. They delighted in leading the obtuse members of Congress on one wild goose chase after another, while the real story remained untold. It was chef’s surprise, a culinary delight of drugs, the sale of arms to belligerents, and money, well seasoned with political sauce, stirred with various commitments to the State of Israel by leading Washington politicians, and topped with luscious Swiss bank accounts.
In fact, the Iran Contra affair was the logical culmination of the longtime involvement of the Rockefeller interests and the Drug Trust in pro-Communist activity. John D. Rockefeller himself had tucked the sum of $10,000 in cash into Leon Trotsky’s pocket before seeing him off to start the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia.
The Trotskyite Socialist Workers Party which was left behind to subvert the United States, was operating under the name of the Socialist Workers Party.
It was then given the cover name of League for Industrial Democracy. Thus the Drug Trust, while maintaining the Stalinist Communist government in Russia, simultaneously maintained a Communist backup regime in the United States, the Trotskyite movement, in case the Stalinist regime should fall. Noticeably irked by this competition, Stalin sent an agent Mexico to eliminate his rival, whom he had previously exiled, realizing that Trotsky was still too popular in Russia to be murdered there.
The Trotsky organization now had its political martyr.
During the 1950s, it quietly placed its members in power in the media, the universities and the government, replacing, in most instances, the incumbent Stalinist hardliners. The Stalinists in Washington who had surrounded Roosevelt and Truman were gradually replaced with “neoconservatives,” that is, hard-line anti-Moscow ideologues, who later added to their masquerade by additional and impressive noms de plume, such as “the Hard Right,” “the New Right,” “the Religious Right,” or, in some instances, merely as “conservatives.”
None other than the Hollywood man on the white horse, Ronald Reagan, rode into power in 1980 on a tide of “neoconservatism.” His principal backing came from the CIA, which by then was only a mouthpiece for the neoconservatives, and its house organ, the National Review, whose editor, William Buckley, boasted that the only job he had ever had was with the CIA.
Jeane Kirkpatrick, of the Rockefeller financed League for Industrial Democracy, became the spokesman for the new policy, while Reagan’s entire team was dominated by the Hoover Institution, whose two senior fellows, Sydney Hook and Seymour Martin Lipset, were on the board of LID. Thus David Rockefeller maintained close liaison with the Stalinist Communists in Moscow, while other Rockefeller interests directed the “anti-Communist” stance of the Reagan regime.
It was a classic Hegelian operation of thesis and antithesis, with the still unresolved synthesis yet to come. The power of the LID lay in its domination of the CIA and its total commitment to the State of Israel as the world headquarters of the Trotskyite Communist movement. Thus Elliott Abrams, son-in-law of the Israeli propagandist Norman Podhoretz, who was editor of the American Jewish Committee organ, Commentary, was appointed by Reagan to direct the Contra operation in Nicaragua, a classic standoff between the Stalinist regime in Managua and Trotskyite directed rebels in the hills.
The drug involvement in this operation should surprise no one, because the Rockefeller interests, having established the American Drug Trust, had long been active not only in ethical drugs but in unethical ones as well. The contra affair not only threatened to blow the lid off the Iran Connection; it endangered the Israeli Connection, the Swiss Connection, and the Rockefeller Connection as well.
The danger was averted by astute maneuvering of the docile congressmen, and by adroit manipulation of the media to focus on Col. Oliver North and Admiral Poindexter, to the exclusion of their controllers.
Thus a “crusade against Communism,” a noble effort to contain the Communists a la George Kennan, to be financed with “dirty” money from the sale of drugs, was at last revealed to be the same old crew of CIA agents peddling their drugs and laundering their money in various parts of the world. (The present writer is now researching a book which will document all of these operations.)
The CIA drug connection was not only deeply rooted in the quest for easy profits, but also in the concurrent plan to achieve total control over the people of the world by the masters of the Drug Trust.
Thus Bowart states,
“The Cryptocracy is a brotherhood reminiscent of the ancient secret societies, with rites of initiation and indoctrination programs to develop in its loyal membership the special understanding of its mysteries. It has secret codes and oaths of silence which reinforce the sense of elitism necessary for the maintenance of its strict loyalty.”
The present writer has described some of these secret rites in “The Curse of Canaan.”
The emphasis on drugs and experimentation which originated with the German allopathic school of medicine, and which was brought to this hemisphere by Illuminati initiates such as Daniel Coit Gilman, was the first step in transforming the entire medical practice of the United States from a patient-oriented, healing process to a totally different approach, in which the patient became an instrument to be manipulated for the benefit of various other programs, mainly experimental science.
This had been typified by Dr. J. Marion Sims, the “mad doctor” responsible for setting up what is now the Rockefeller controlled Memorial Hospital Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. This total commitment to “Science” also guided and inspired the CIA drug programs, Projects Bluebird, Artichoke, MK Ultra, and MK Delta, in which some 139 drugs were used on unsuspecting victims, the substances abused including cannabis, LSD, Scopolamine, Sodium Amytal, Chloral Hydrate (the knockout drops of the Old West), ergot, cocaine, morphine and heroin.
The CIA drug story begins in 1943, when the organization was still known as the OSS. A Dr. Albert Hoffmann was experimenting in the Sandoz Laboratories in Switzerland (Sandoz was then controlled by the Warburg family). Although Sandoz has been manufacturing a substance known as LSD, or lysergic acid, since 1938, it had only been used in experiments with monkeys.
A later form of this substance, LSD-25, produced amazing psychotropic effects, as Dr. Hoffmann accidentally discovered, when he absorbed a small quantity of rye fungus, the base for the drug, while he was working. This happened during August of 1943, at the height of the Second World War.
Dr. Hoffmann later reported,
“There surged upon me an uninterrupted stream of fantastic images of extraordinary plasticity and vividness and accompanied by an intense kaleidoscopic-like play of colors … I thought I was dying or going crazy.”
This was the first “trip,” the precursor of millions of such experiences by drug cultists. By 1958, Dr. Hoffmann had expanded his interests to Mexican mushrooms and mescaline, both of which then became very popular among leading bankers in New York, and among prominent Hollywood personalities.
At the time of the discovery of LSD, Allen Dulles was posted in Switzerland, as though by precognition. It was under his leadership that the CIA became transformed into the foremost operation of Dope, Inc. He was then engaged in various activities with officials of the Nazi regime. To this day, no one has been able to ascertain whether he was trying to preserve the Hitler regime, or to overthrow it.
The most likely assumption is that he was trying to preserve it to a point, lest the war end too soon for the profit-minded munitions makers, but at the same time to prevent any sort of victorious ending for his Nazi cohorts. The notes of Gotterdammerung had already been sounded. Dulles’ association with the Hitler regime went back to a fateful meeting in Cologne in 1933, when he and his brother, John Foster Dulles, assured Hitler the money would be forthcoming to guarantee the fruition of his goals as he had set them forth in “Mein Kampf.”
Allen Dulles later became a director of the Schroder Bank, which handled Hitler’s personal bank account. Interestingly, enough, no one has ever been able to trace one cent of Hitler’s considerable personal fortune, which he had received from the sale of his books and other income. Unlike his opponent, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Hitler had no trust fund from his mother (the proceeds from the China opium trade).
Dulles, as an international spymaster, would probably have been aware of Dr. Hoffmann’s experiments. After he had returned to the United States and became director of the newly created CIA, Dulles ordered 10 kg of LSD from Sandoz, the stated purpose being “for use in drug experiments with animals and human beings.
As there are some 10,000 doses per gram, this meant that Dulles ordered one hundred million doses of LSD. Meanwhile, a Dr. Timothy Leary had been hired by the National Institute of Health to experiment with psychedelic drugs, including LSD. Leary had already been forced to resign from West Point, and was later fired from the faculty at Harvard, perhaps the only person who could say this.
Leary’s NIH study was financed by a grant from the Uris Foundation of New York City. It continued from 1953 to 1956, when it was moved to the U.S. Public Health Service, the experiments going on until 1958, and also at HEW from 1956 to 1963. A CIA Memo dated November 1, 1963 featured glowing accounts of the work of Dr. Leary and his associate, Dr. Richard Alpert (who also was later fired from the staff at Harvard).
They invented the turn on, tune in, drop out movement which incapacitated the youth of America for an entire generation. The movement, in which the CIA always had a proprietary interest, was given academic status when it was launched from the ivy-covered halls of Harvard by Leary and his group.
After their forced departure from Harvard, they were ensconced in a million dollar estate in New York by the wealthy Mellon heir, Tommy Hitchcock. Their movement swept over the campuses of American universities and destroyed the educational opportunities for thousands of American youths.
A later governmental investigation of the CIA, which was chaired, naturally enough, by Nelson Rockefeller, made this comment in its Rockefeller Report to the President on CIA activities,
“Beginning in the late 1940s, the CIA began to study the properties of certain behavior-influencing drugs … all the records concerning the program were ordered destroyed in 1973, including a total of 152 separate files. CIA also contracted with the then Bureau of Narcotics to have mind-influencing drugs given to unwitting subjects in ‘normal life-settings.’ ”
The above referred to several unfortunate incidents, in which CIA employees, who had been given doses of LSD without their knowledge, committed suicide under its malign influence.
The families of these victims learned many years later of the true circumstances of these “suicides” and successfully sued the government to obtain financial settlements.
Of the various CIA projects, the most notorious was MK Ultra. These programs were supervised by another prototype of the “mad doctor,” a Dr. Sidney Gottlieb.
Despite the havoc wrought by his activities, Dr. Gottlieb was never brought to trial. Indeed, the then director of the CIA, Richard Helms, made certain that all records of the MK Ultra operation were destroyed during his last days in office, leaving Dr. Gottlieb immune to prosecution.
Dr. Gottleib, who has been described by observers as “a pharmaceutical Dr. Strangelove,” envisioned dosing entire populations with hallucinogenic drugs. Influenced by his CIA experiments, the U.S. Army contemplated a program of driving whole populations insane with these drugs. Some 1,500 military personnel were then given LSD in tests run by the Army Chemical Corps, during the mid 1960s.
Many of them suffered severe psychological damage, the most terrifying symptoms appearing years later. The Army then moved on to testing a more powerful chemical hallucinogen, which it called B.Z This drug was tested at Edgewood Arsenal between 1959 and 1975. About 2,800 soldiers were exposed to B.Z. Some of them have since lodged complaints that they suffered irreparable damage from the experiment.
One of the peripheral results of the CIA drug program was the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the blame subsequently being laid at the door of various groups, the CIA, the Mafia, the Cuban Communists and others.
The basis for these charges was that all of them were deeply involved. To cover up the trail, some forty people later died by violence. Some of them were media writers, the most prominent being the late Dorothy Kilgallen, a widely known columnist. In 1965 she used her connections to get permission to interview Jack Ruby in his prison cell.
She later told friends that she had been able to obtain evidence that would “blow the J. F. Kennedy case sky high.” Shortly afterwards, she was found in her apartment, dead of what was later diagnosed as an “overdose” of barbiturates and alcohol. The apartment was a shambles, and all of her notes of her conversations with Ruby had disappeared.
To this day, no one has ever admitted seeing them. The Medical Monopoly then used Kilgallen’s death as an excuse to issue pious warning about “the dangers of mixing barbiturates and alcohol” but said nothing about the dangers of visiting Jack Ruby. Early in 1967, Ruby repeatedly complained that he was being poisoned. He was then diagnosed as having cancer, but he died of a “stroke,” as did one of his accomplices, David Ferrie.
The apparition of Dr. Sidney Gottlieb as the CIA’s “mad scientist” is eclipsed by the record of Dr. D. Ewen Cameron, who epitomized the Hollywood version of the insane doctor experimenting on helpless human subjects. Born in Scotland, Dr. Cameron moved to the United States, where he became a citizen. Although he carried on most of his medical work in Canada, he was a resident of Lake Placid, New York.
The basis for the two-country operation may have been a desire to avoid lawsuits. In 1943, Dr. Cameron received a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to set up a new psychiatric institute, the Allen Memorial Institute, as a wing of the Royal Victorian Hospital, the teaching hospital of McGill University in Montreal.
This Rockefeller connection later resulted in some $10 million of CIA money being channeled to Cameron through Dr. Gottlieb as part of the MK Ultra project.
This money was transferred to Dr. Cameron, beginning in 1953, because he had already demonstrated his commitment to mind-altering experiments. The CIA funds were therefore marked for mind control.
Dr. Cameron had come to the favorable attention of the Rockefeller interests after he invented some of the most terrifying “psychiatric” techniques ever known. He invented a process called “depatterning” as well as a later technique called “psychic driving,” either of which would have done credit to any Communist brain washing expert.
“Depatterning” began with heavy drug dosages, combined with electric shock, the then popular Electro Convulsive Therapy, or ECT, as it was usually known.
It was later discredited for years because of the damage to the patients, but, incredibly, has now been revived and is in constant use in some circles. ECT has been described by its victims as the most terrifying ordeal which can be imagined. Basically, it was simply the electrocution process which was shut off just before it became fatal. The patient was strapped into a chair and electrocuted two or three times a day.
Initially, depatterning was limited to the heavy drug dosages, over a period from fifteen to thirty days; this part of the program was called “sleep therapy.” A “sleep cocktail,” which itself was worthy of the imagination of a Dr. Frankenstein, consisted of 100 mg of Thorazine, 100 mg of Nembutal, 100 mg of Seconal, 150 mg of Vernonal and 100 mg. of Phenergan, any one of which would be enough to put any patient to sleep. The sleep cocktail was administered to the patient three times a day.
Later in the sleep therapy treatment, the patient was awakened two or three times a day to receive the electric shock treatments. Dr. Cameron ignored the recommended voltage for shock treatments, increasing them twenty to forty times higher than any other doctor had ever dared. He watched approvingly as the helpless patients screamed constantly during the electro-shock “therapy.”
It was his fond belief that the screams also were an essential part of the treatment, although it is likely that it represented his personal gratification.
The next step in depatterning, which was also one of the weirder Cameron inventions, was “sensory isolation,” in which the patient was placed in a large box, with his eyes padded and his ears plugged. After some thirty days of the Cameron depatterning treatment, the patient was reduced to a helpless zombie.
Satisfied that he had purged the patient of all previous images and ideas, Dr. Cameron moved into the next phase, which he called “psychic driving.”
This consisted of forcing the patient to listen to tape-recorded messages, repeated over and over, thousands of times. This “treatment” was administered through pillow speakers or headphones. Every intelligence agency in the world was green with envy when they heard of the new Cameron techniques. Luckily, the CIA had been the first on the scene, and provided him with ample funds for his lunatic obsessions.
Born in 1901 near Glasgow, Cameron had studied at the University of London, where he may have picked up some of his strange ideas. It is also likely that he became involved with some cult in London, which featured such monstrous ideas. After all, Mary Shelley had written Frankenstein in that very milieu. Throughout his activities in Canada, the CIA Technical Services and the Staff Chemical Division enthusiastically funded his work. Honors poured in on him, as word spread about his “innovative” techniques.
He became chairman of the Canadian Psychiatric Association, chairman of the American Psychiatric Association, and founding chairman of the World Psychiatric Association.
After Dr. Cameron’s death in 1967, the CIA found itself besieged by some of the survivors of his victims. In the most advanced stages of MK Ultra, he had experimented on some 53 people. This group included some prominent Canadians. An action was finally brought by Harry Weinstein, whose father Louis had been a leading Montreal businessman.
Another victim was Velma Orlikon, wife of a Democratic Party Member of the Canadian Parliament. Despite these pedigrees, the victims found themselves up against a stone wall. The Washington Post noted in January, 1988, that the CIA was still fighting the action of nine elderly Canadians who had been drugged during the 1950s and who were asking $175,000 each in damages, later increased to $1,000,000 each. The case was then ordered to trial, after nine years of delaying tactics by the CIA, but no one is predicting a speedy solution.
During the Cameron era, the CIA continued its own experiments in the United States. They enlisted the services of a narcotic operator, George Hunter White, and set him up in an apartment in Greenwich Village. He was given a cover identity as an artist and a seaman, who met people at parties or in bars and lured them back to the apartment.
The CIA money had transformed the seedy apartment into an espionage apparatus complete with two-way mirrors, surveillance and recording equipment and other tools of the trade. White dosed his visitors with LSD, while the CIA equipment meticulously recorded their reactions. These frequently consisted of “bad trips” in which the victims went temporarily insane, tried to commit suicide or murder and gave other evidences of the “mind control” which the CIA wished to learn.
To avoid exposure from complainants, the CIA transferred White to San Francisco, where he was given the run of two more CIA pads. He then initiated Operation Midnight Climax. Drug addicted prostitutes were paid to pick men up in local bars and bring them back for an orgy which featured drinks heavily laced with LSD. The ensuing action was taped and photographed in every detail, although the results are not likely to be made available to the Library of Congress.
Despite the excesses to which doctors such as Dr. Cameron and Dr. Sims went in their scientific enthusiasm, there are horror stories equally disturbing from the clinical experiments conducted by the ethical drug companies.
With hundreds of millions in dollars of potential profits riding on each new drug product, the Medical Monopoly must comply with the regulations which they themselves have drafted and put into place. The purpose of the regulations is to protect the market share of a new wonder drug until it can be replaced by a newer wonder drug.
As one alternative health care practitioner, who had been sent to prison for selling herbal teas, remarked,
“A wonder drug is a drug that you take and then you wonder what it’s going to do to you.”
The restrictions on new drugs are usually complied with if the manufacturer believes it may be a big money maker. He is not about to release a new drug to the market, have it meet with success and then be forced to recall it because he has not complied with all of the regulations.
From 1948 to 1958, pharmaceutical companies introduced 4,829 new products, 3,686 new compounds and 1,143 new dosages.
All of these products had to go through the process. New drugs are reported to take an average time of from seven to ten years to receive final FDA approval, a process which costs from ten to twelve million dollars, frequently as much as eighteen to twenty million.
Clinical testing goes through three clearly defined phases.
- Phase I calls for the testing of the new drug on a small number of healthy people.
- Phase II requires that “volunteers” take the drug during a two year trial basis.
- Phase III calls for more diverse clinical testing on from one thousand to three thousand patients over a three year period.
This means that doctors and hospitals administer the drug only because the Phase II testing has established its toxicity and other possible side effects.
These are generally patients who are in a position to sue or generate unfavorable publicity if the drug proves to be dangerous, which means that those who prescribe the drug are relying on the Phase II testing to recommend it as reliable.
Phase II, in which the drug is tested on human beings, generally requires a captive population. The drugs are sometimes tested secretly in schools, hospitals and mental institutions, but the pharmaceutical manufacturers usually prefer to rely on a much safer test population, those confined to our prisons, because they are unlikely to complain.
Even inmates of mental institutions have been known to complain, after their release, that they were subjected to illegal drug testing. Prisoners who have been convicted of crimes are less likely to complain. Since the turn of the century, the United States has led the world in the number of medical experiments carried on in prisons.
The law-abiding citizen might think that it is all right to conduct medical experiments on prisoners, even though a number of German doctors were executed for just such an offense. Drug testing might be one way in which the prisoner could repay his debt to society. However, the reality of the situation today is that, although there are many criminals confined in our prisons, there are also increasing numbers of Americans sent to prisons for political offenses.
These political prisoners run the same risks in medical experiments as do the most hardened criminals. Each year, a larger number of sentences are handed down by American courts as punishment for banking problems, mortgage problems or tax problems.
Because of the Medical Monopoly’s control of the media, the use of prisoners in medical experiments rarely comes to the attention of the American people. An exhaustive search of magazine indexes from 1900 to the present day reveals only a few such stories, which were uniformly favorable to the experiments. The prisoners themselves have little media access, unless they riot and bring the cameramen in in force, with the full top story treatment.
The American Medical Association is still the leading advocate of using prisoners for drug testing.
The columnist, Pertinax, writing in the British Medical Journal, January 1963 commented,
“I’m disturbed that the World Medical Association is now hedging on its clause about using criminals as experimental material. The AMA influence has been at work on its suspension. At the tenth meeting, American scientists joked about it. One of the nicest American scientists I know was heard to say ‘Criminals in our prisons are fine experimental material—and much cheaper than chimpanzees’.”
The scientist was not making a bad joke—chimpanzees cost as much as $4500 each, while American prisoners can be had for as little as one dollar a day. Pertinax was commenting on the proposal made by the World Medical Association in 1961, and offered for adoption, that “prisoners, being captive groups, should not be used as the subjects of experiments.”
The proposal was vociferously objected to by delegates from the American Medical Association and it was finally tabled.
If this smacks somewhat of the crimes of “Nazi doctors” and their experiments on prisoners, the coincidence is not accidental. The accused physicians testified in their own defense that they were merely following practices of long standing in the United States. At one trial, in 1947, 515 German doctors were tried at Nuremberg, indicted on the charge that they had conducted experiments on prisoners.
They entered evidence in their defense that in 1906, American doctors in Philadelphia had used convicts for medical experiments, injecting them with plague and beri beri germs; in 1915, pellagra was injected into convicts in Massachusetts; in 1944, hundreds of prisoners in the United States were injected with malaria under the excuse of wartime necessity, to aid our soldiers in the Pacific.
Despite this defense, the German doctors were convicted and some of them were executed.
The subject surfaced again with the recent publication of Robert Jay Lifton‘s book, “Nazi Doctors,” one of the series of books about Nazis which pour from American presses in an ever-increasing stream, obeying the dictum that anything sells in the United States if a swastika is emblazoned on the cover. The book resulted in a spirited discussion in the Letters page of the New York Times Sunday Book Review.
Bruno Bettelheim had originally reviewed the book, asserting that the effort to understand the Nazi doctors was wrong,
“because of the ever-present danger that understanding fully may come close to forgiving.”
Christians, of course, offer forgiveness as a basic religious precept.
Paul Ramsey wrote to include an excerpt from an advertisement,
“Professor McCance and the members of the Medical Research Department want to be informed, if and when children are born in lying-in homes and women’s wards in hospitals afflicted with Meningocele or similar abnormalities, which will make it unlikely that the children will survive longer than a short time.
Professor McCance and his department wish to make some experiments on these children, which will give them no sorts of pains, but they feel not entitled to make these experiments on normal, healthy children. When the birth of these children comes to be known, Professor McCance is to be informed at once by telephone.”
Mr. Ramsey noted that this advertisement appeared in an American publication in 1946, while the German doctors were on trial.
Telford Taylor, the American prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials, wrote to the Times to correct errors which had already appeared, including the statement that one of those sentenced was,
“Edwin Katzenellenbogen, who at one time had been a member of the faculty at Harvard Medical School.”
Taylor stated that no one by the name of Kazenellenbogen had ever been tried at Nuremberg.
Indeed, the name seems to have been included as an elaborate practical joke, the name having surfaced in previous practical jokes. The Times made no apology. Telford Taylor further pointed out that twenty physicians had been tried at Nuremberg in the instance mentioned, not nineteen as stated in the review, and that four were hanged, five sentenced to life in prison, three received lesser sentences and seven were acquitted on all charges.
Large scale medical experimentation, similar to that which was condemned as a crime at Nuremberg at the same time that it was still being practiced in American prisons, takes undue advantage of the “volunteers.” Some are illiterate; most are young and healthy and have never had any serious illness. They have little concept of what it may be like to come down with a serious illness as a result of being injected with experimental drugs, or the lifelong complications which may result.
In 1963, Time magazine ran an expose of large scale programs which federal government officials had established in our prisons. These vast testing programs were justified as being part of the “war on cancer” which Bobst and the Laskers had launched from the White House. The doctors were injecting prisoners with live cancer cells and with blood from persons suffering from leukemia.
Several doctors in Oklahoma were grossing three hundred thousand dollars a year from drug manufacturers in these deals; these doctors also regularly collected blood from prisoners, paying them $7 a quart; they then sold the blood for $15.
During the 1940s, when the first stories about the use of prisoners in medical experiments began to receive some circulation, the American Medical Association requested Governor Dwight of Illinois to scotch the stories. He whitewashed the experiments by appointing Morris Fishbein and other AMA leaders to a committee which solemnly “investigated” the programs and returned with glowing reports. Fishbein himself came back from Stateville Penitentiary to describe the prisoner experiments as “ideal, because of their conformity with ethical rules.”
Fishbein elaborated his enthusiasm by pointing out that the program rendered a genuine service to the entire public because of the “reformation value in serving as a subject in a medical experiment.” One might have expected Fishbein to appear at Nuremberg, to defend the German doctors with the same argument, that they had offered this same “reformation value” to the inmates of the concentration camps.
A public relations spokesman for Wyeth laboratories was puzzled by the indignation in some quarters, releasing a statement that “Almost all of our Phase II testing is done on prisoners.”
In fact, there was fierce and ongoing competition among the major drug firms to line up prisoners who could be used as “subjects” in medical experiments. Upjohn and Parke-Davis adhered to established principles of monopoly when they acquired “exclusive rights” to the inmates of Jackson State Prison in Mississippi. These firms subsequently were able to enroll 1,200 of the 4,000 convicts there in the testing program.
Business Week offered a somewhat critical comment on the program, pointing out that,
“tests at the prison are designed primarily to measure the toxicity of the drug rather than its efficiency… doses are built up gradually to the point where adverse reactions occur.”
In plainer English, the dosage was increased until it made the prisoner so ill or caused serious damage.
The results often were crippling or death. However, the prisoners were paid thirty cents a day for submitting to these experiments. Business Week touched upon the fact that it was precisely the life-threatening aspect of Phase II testing for which the prisoners were needed.
The pharmaceutical companies needed to know how many people might be injured by the drug, or how many lawsuits they might expect from angry customers.
The drug testing programs were welcomed by prison officials, who maintained ancient buildings dating back to the Civil War to house the prisoners, while they built themselves monumental new administration offices and other perquisites of the trade. In 1971, the New York State Prison System spent $5,500 a year for each prisoner in the system, of which 72 cents a day went for food, and 15 cents a day for clothing and other amenities.
Of the budgeted $17 a day per prisoner, less than a dollar a day went for his physical maintenance. This was an essential part of a prison system which had been set up the Boss Tweed and which still offered many golden opportunities to those who were alert.
Only a few stories leaked out to the public during these postwar years. Prisons are closed systems and investigative reporters are rarely welcomed. One of the most horrifying, which would have shamed any Nazi doctor, came from Vacaville State Prison in California. Extensive testing programs had been carried out here for years. A few of the prisoners were paid $15 a month, but most of them received only a dollar a day.
The victims reported an alarming list of results, such as heart damage, loss of hair, joint pains, swelling of the legs, shortness of breath and hemorrhages of the skin. One testing outfit, under the name of the Solano Institute for Medical and Physical Research, actually was able to set up its headquarters at the prison. Established as a nonprofit corporation under the California charitable trust law, the “Institute” subjected 1,500 prisoners to various types of injections. One prisoner who had been sent to Vacaville for “treatment” later sued the doctor, a leading dermatologist who was head of his professional association.
The prisoner had been forced to take muscular injections of Lederle’s Caridase drug. This drug contained fibrinolytic enzymes which were intended for use as an anti-inflammatory agent. The patient testified that he had been seized by trustees and held while he was forcibly injected in both arms. He subsequently developed a near-fatal disease of the muscles and chronic stomach ulcers, while his weight dropped from 140 pounds to a mere 75 pounds. He received four dollars in compensation.
The King of the Prison Experiments was one Dr. Austin Stough. He had initiated contracts with the nation’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturers to carry out drug testing at a number of prisons in three southern states, Alabama, Arkansas and Oklahoma.
The program, to test blood plasma, at its peak involved 137 prisons from 1963 to 1970 and was paid for by 37 drug companies, including such leading firms as Upjohn, Wyeth, Lederle, Squibb and Merck. Although the financial rewards were impressive, the results of the program proved inconclusive. The program was later criticized as operating under “gross mismanagement, sloppy handling and contamination” of test samples, criticism which put an end to the program. Hundreds of prisoners suffered from its after effects for years.
Stough had set up a prison monopoly which brought in good returns until his methods were exposed as being worthless.
Despite the dramatic implications of the drug testing stories, they met with thunderous silence from the “bleeding hearts” of the nation’s media, perhaps because publicity about these programs might have raised conjecture as to why German doctors had been executed for the same practices. A survey of Readers Guide, the index to magazine articles printed throughout the United States, showed that from 1945 to 1970, during the height of the testing programs in the prisons, there were only three stories about it during this entire period.
The first, a heart warming story in Coronet, November 1950, was titled “Prison Heroes Conquer Malaria,” a glowing account of experiments conducted at the Illinois State Prison at Joliet, where Dr. Fishbein himself had been overwhelmed by the “ethical” nature of the drug testing program.
The second story, in the Saturday Evening Post, March 2, 1963, was titled “Convict Volunteers.” It too was an uncritical account of the drug experimenters, describing the prisoners as “human guinea pigs.” The journalist quoted one convict, who was deliberately burned on both arms, “The pain was pretty bad,” and mentioned other prisoners who had been injected with live cancer cells.
Despite the fact that this story, written about inmates at the Ohio State Prison in Columbus, mentioned that these convicts did not receive any pay for submitting to these experiments (Ohio statutes piously forbid such payments, saving the drug companies even more money), the writer ends his article with a glowing tribute to the program, pointing out that it caused “the volunteers to feel self-respect.”
The third story, in Business Week, June 27, 1964, noted that the drug companies were able to save many millions of dollars by using the prisoners for drug experiments.