FDAnews Drug Daily Bulletin
Pharmaceuticals / Regulatory Affairs

Judge Allows Guatemala Syphilis Lawsuit to Proceed

Jan. 14, 2019

A Maryland district judge has given the go-ahead for a lawsuit filed against Bristol-Myers Squibb, Johns Hopkins University and the Rockefeller Foundation by alleged victims of syphilis experiments that began in the 1940s.

The plaintiffs — approximately 774 Guatemalans — claim they were subjects in experiments held in Guatemala from 1945 to 1956 in which Johns Hopkins and Rockefeller Foundation scientists intentionally exposed children, inmates, orphans and others to syphilis, gonorrhea, chancroid and other diseases, while keeping the true nature of the experiment secret.

U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang shot down the defendants’ arguments that a recent Supreme Court decision protecting foreign firms against U.S. lawsuits also extended to domestic corporations.

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