At least a handful of the unwitting subjects died as a result of the pharmacological experiments. An instance of capitalist and communist collaboration during the Cold War, via the Independent:
Communist East Germany allowed Western drug companies to use its medical patients as unwitting guinea pigs for tests with untried pharmaceuticals in return for hundreds of thousands in hard currency, a television documentary by Germany’s ARD television channel has revealed.
The disturbing disclosures about the former communist state’s patients-for-cash scheme comes only weeks after an admission by the Swedish furniture giant Ikea that East German political prisoners were used to make its products before the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989.
Using information gleaned from East German Stasi files, the film shows how, in 1983, Communist Party Central Committee members hatched a secret deal with Western drug companies enabling them to test their unlicensed products on unwitting patients by using specially selected doctors and clinics.
Hubert Bruchmüller, a former East German who is now lives on a disability allowance because of a heart complaint, recalled in the film how he was used as an unwitting guinea pig. The documentary makers showed that without his knowledge, he had been given the drug Spirapril made by the pharmaceutical company Sandoz, while being treated for a heart complaint in a clinic in the East German city of Lotsau in the late 1980s. Six of the 17 patients in the Lotsau heart clinic died before doctors were ordered to stop testing according to Stasi file evidence unearthed by the film makers.
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