Unwilling Guinea Pigs: Using Foster Care Children for Forced Drug Experiments
"This article was first published in Naturally Good Magazine, issue 1.
In the summer of 2004, Liam Scheff, an independent investigative journalist published the story of Incarnation Children's Center in New York City, where experimental and highly toxic AIDS drugs were forcibly administered to foster children of the State. Originally published in the article, The House That AIDS Built, the story was subsequently carried by The New York Press with the title: Orphans on Trial. Children refusing experimental medications were surgically implanted tubes to allow direct injections of drugs into their stomachs against their will. In November of the same year, the BBC broadcast Guinea Pig Kids, a video of the story. After airing the documentary just once, the BBC abruptly changed its position and distanced itself from the controversial story, due to threats which came from the United States.
"The FDA encourages studies in pediatric patients. Clinical trials involving children and orphans are therefore legal and not unusual."
― GlaxoSmithKline, email to Democracy Now!
In order to gain access to hundreds of HIV infected foster children, federally funded researchers promised in writing to provide independent advocates to safeguard the kids' wellbeing as they tested potent AIDS drugs. The Associated Press discovered that this special protection never materialized in most cases. It is also worth noting that HIV tests are well known for inaccuracy, and false positive tests can be triggered by routine conditions such as flu infections. The research funded by the National Institutes of Health spanned the country. It was most widespread in the 1990's as foster-care agencies sought experimental treatments for their HIV-infected children which were not yet available in the marketplace. The research was conducted in at least seven states: Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Colorado and Texas. They involved more than four dozen different studies. The foster children ranged from infants to late teens, according to interviews and government records. Several studies enlisting foster children reported that patients suffered side effects such as rashes, vomiting and dramatic drops in their infection-fighting blood cells. One study reported a "disturbing" higher death rate among children who took higher doses of the drugs.
Supposedly, the federal government provided special protections for child wards in 1983. They required researchers and their oversight boards to appoint independent advocates for any foster child enrolled in a narrow class of studies involving greater-than-minimal risk, and which lacked the promise of direct benefit. Agencies in Illinois and New York attempted to displace their responsibility by requiring that pharmaceutical researchers sign a document agreeing to provide this protection on their behalf ― bypassing the spirit and true meaning of the law, in order to allow the foxes to continue guarding the hen houses. One must wonder just how profitable these partnerships were for the bureaucrats to disregard a law written specifically to address their past behavior. Researchers and foster agencies told The Associated Press that the conductors of AIDS drug trials commonly ignored the requirement to institute impartial child advocates, even though research institutions promised many times in writing to do so.
Illinois officials believe that none of their nearly 200 foster children in AIDS studies received independent monitors. New York City could find records showing 142 (less than a third of the 465 foster children in AIDS drug trials) got such monitors, even though city policy required them.
Remembering 2004: The Foster Care Horrors of New York City
The wicked malfeasance that was discovered in New York City under the leadership of Mayor Giuliani and the financial influence of Merck, BristolMyers Squibb, MicroGeneSys, Biocine, Glaxo Wellcome, and Pfizer has practically disappeared from the sparse media coverage that it once had. It has been easy for the media organizations to sweep the problem under the rug and move on: especially since its pharmaceutical sponsors can be so encouraging. The difficultly in finding information now about the New York City foster care drug experiments that were first reported in 2004 reveals that there has been a full-blown cover-up operation. Alas, the last large media corporation still gutsy enough to carry the archived story is Hustler Magazine, and Hustler still has it viewable online. The staff finds it both a telling and a troubling sign of the times that Hustler Magazine is one of the last bastions of journalist integrity and courage remaining in the United States.
Hustler Magazine reported:
"Children, too sick to move or speak, lie sprawled around a playroom. Some sit in wheelchairs amid younger kids tottering aimlessly, their coordination hindered by severe brain damage. Others are deformed, their limbs twisted. Many of the little ones have tubes surgically implanted to pump milky-white fluid through holes in their stomachs. These wards of a New York City orphanage are human guinea pigs. HIV-positive and some only a few months old, they have been enrolled in toxic experiments without the consent of guardians or relatives. Many of these children were taken forcibly from their homes by decree of a seemingly benevolent municipal agency, the Administration for Children's Services (ACS). Most of these drug trials were cosponsored by giant pharmaceutical companies and the National Institute of Health (NIH). In conjunction with the ACS, hospital administrators, doctors and their subordinates helped to carry out the experiments, which apparently led to severe injury, deformation, brain damage and even death for some of the subjects.
"In New York City, more than 23,000 children are either in foster care or independent homes supervised by religious organizations on behalf of the local authorities. Most of these kids are black or Hispanic. Some are born addicted to crack; others are HIV-positive. For more than a decade, the ACS admits, 465 children have been forced to receive dubious experimental cocktails provided by such pharmaceutical firms as Merck, BristolMyers Squibb, MicroGeneSys, Biocine, Glaxo Wellcome and Pfizer.
"There have been allegations that these clinical trials have killed children. What is certain is that most of the experiments were cruel and unnecessary. 'They tested these very highly experimental drugs, Phase 1 and Phase 2,' says Vera Sharav of the Alliance for Human Research Protection. 'Why didn't they provide the children with the current best treatment? That's the question I have. Why did they expose them to risk and pain when they were helpless? Would they have done those experiments with their own children? I doubt it.' In studies conducted under the auspices of the foster-care system, children were administered multiple concoctions simultaneously, at up to eight times the usual doses. No one seemed terribly concerned what effects AZT, Nevirapine and vaccines for herpes and chicken pox would have on the kids. 'We're talking about serious, serious side effects,' says Dr. David Rasnick, a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley, who specializes in AIDS research. 'These children are going to be absolutely miserable… they're going to have cramps and diarrhea, and their joints are going to swell up. They're going to roll around the ground, and you can't touch them.' Rasnick describes some of the drugs administered in the experiments as 'lethal'. For example, Nevirapine can cause severe liver toxicity. Another potential side effect is Steven Johnsons Syndrome, which is characterized by painful flaking of the skin. Government documentation (available at ClinicalTrials.gov) lists some of the experiments carried out on children. One involved a herpes treatment; another gave subjects double doses of a measles vaccine. One trial involved administering cocktails of drugs with side effects that included severe abdominal pain, muscle wastage and organ failure.
"How could this happen in America? Since the 1980s, activists have been pressuring the government to rush new AIDS drugs onto the market. Since then, Liam Scheff maintains, the relationship between the NIH, FDA and drug companies has grown incestuous. Scheff, the investigative reporter who originally broke this story and brought it to the BBC, claims that drug companies were motivated to cosponsor orphan drug studies with the NIH 'to keep old, failed drugs like AZT on the market'."
"When a profitable drug fails in one population", Scheff explains, "its manufacturer will try to find a use for it in another. With AIDS drugs, they've dumped drugs that harmed and even killed adult males into pregnant women and their children. A drug company only has to alter a drug slightly, or simply change its name to be able to claim a new use. They run it through new clinical trials cosponsored by the NIH, a taxpayer-funded government agency. As such, the NIH publishes lots of data and claims it's fighting the war on AIDS, which justifies its growing budget. Conversely, drug companies get to run their old, failed drugs through new trials subsidized by taxpayers. It's a win-win situation. The only losers are orphans. The NIH will partner with a hospital and a government-sponsored foster-care system. Suddenly, they have an endless supply of subjects on which to test sick youngsters with no guardians.
"You would not expect too many parents to volunteer their children for such experiments," says the Alliance for Human Research Protection's, Vera Sharav. "This means that if the researchers want to do the experiments on children, they are going to look for vulnerable children whom they can get. And when you have a city government agency accommodating them, that is the biggest betrayal of those children. They don't have anyone but the city agency that is their guardian on paper. And how can anyone believe that drugs proven devastatingly toxic in adults might benefit infants or children?"
"The drugs being given to the children are toxic ― they're known to cause genetic mutation, organ failure, bone marrow death, bodily deformations, brain damage and fatal skin disorders. If the children refuse the drugs, they're held down and have them force fed. If the children continue to resist, they're taken to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital where a surgeon puts a plastic tube through their abdominal wall into their stomachs. From then on, the drugs are injected directly into their intestines. In 2003, two children, ages 6 and 12, had debilitating strokes due to drug toxicities. The 6-year-old went blind. They both died shortly after. Another 14-year old died recently. An 8-year-old boy had two plastic surgeries to remove large, fatty, drug-induced lumps from his neck. This isn't science fiction. This is AIDS research."
This is the standard label for the drug AZT. Notice the skull and bones on the label ― the warning for deadly poisons. This bottle contains only 100 mg. pills, but humans are prescribed between 300 to 1500 mg. per day. These labels are typically removed before the prescriptions are given to patients, in order to prevent the unintended side effects of informed patients.
"When asked by a reporter or a city council person, the doctors will say they're offering the most advanced treatment to these kids", Scheff says. "That's not true. If you review the specific drugs used in the studies, it becomes obvious that that's totally contradictory. The NIH and the FDA are the drug companies. It's unclear anymore where one stops and another begins. The NIH is an organization that works as a liaison between the drug companies and the public they too often pretend to serve. The job of the NIH is to keep drug companies in business, and less and less to serve the public."
Since the late 1990's, children have been used in experiments. If a child refused to take a given medication, he or she was force-fed through a tube surgically inserted into the stomach. Both Incarnation Children's Center and its public-relations firm refused to comment about activities within the facility.
Jacklyn Hoerger was a pediatric nurse at Incarnation for more than five years. She says doctors there insist that any of the children's pain or suffering has nothing to do with the experimental drugs. "At the time, it did not occur to me that anything was wrong," Hoerger recalls. "If they were vomiting, if they lost their ability to walk, if they were having diarrhea, if they were dying, then all of this was because of their HIV infection." Hoerger changed her mind after she and her husband had adopted two little girls from the home. Despite receiving the utmost care and attention, their conditions continued to deteriorate. "I gave them good-quality food," Hoerger says, "and the best private schooling they could get, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy and tutoring, the best psychologist that I could find on all levels, and I just didn't seem to be making any headway. The only thing that was left was the medication that I was giving them."
Hoerger took the children off the drug regime and, almost immediately, their health and happiness visibly improved. For the first time they were able to go swimming and cycling. Both the kids' social worker and mental health visitor were delighted. But when the ACS (New York City's Administration for Children's Services) discovered that their mother had stopped administering the girls' the drugs, there was a knock on the door. "It was a Saturday morning", Hoerger recalled, "and they had come a few times unannounced. So when I saw them at the door, I invited them in, and they said that this wasn't a happy visit. And at that point they told me that they were taking the children away. I was in shock. I couldn't believe it."
For refusing to administer drugs, Jacklyn Hoerger lost the children and was convicted of child abuse. Many years later, she still has no idea what happened to the girls she grew to love. According to records, more than 50 children in 13 experiments from Incarnation Children’s Center were offered up for experiments. An unknown number of others came from foster homes and other children's facilities under the supervision of the ACS, which was granted far-reaching powers in the 1990's by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. After a particularly horrific child abuse case, literally thousands of children were rounded up and placed into foster care. "They're essentially out of control", expressed David Lansner, a family lawyer in New York. "I've had many ACS case workers tell me, 'We're ACS. We can do whatever we want.' And they usually get away with it." Inexplicably in 2002, the trials at Incarnation Children's Center suddenly stopped, but documentation shows that similar experiments continue at up to six other locations in New York City's metropolitan area.
The Most Shocking Revelation: The Truth About AIDS Drugs
The remainder of this article is a report copied verbatim from Nobel Prize winner, Doctor J. Michael Bestler, M.D. about the horrors and hysteria unleashed upon the population by the medical establishment in the name of AIDS.
"People like to find a cause for events, preferably a singular cause. And preferably with a little bit of the strange and exotic. HIV fits this perfectly. I just began to doubt the HIV hypothesis about 15 years ago in the infancy of the AIDS hysteria, and then I encountered the work of Peter Duesberg, professor of molecular and cellular biology at the University of California at Berkeley. My doubts coalesced into a conviction, AIDS is not the result of HIV infection. So here goes, and no one is going to like this, but when Duesberg and I share the Nobel Prize in Medicine, remember I told you so. AIDS results from unhealthy circumstances over a prolonged period of time, poor hygiene, poor physical habits, poor diet, chronic use of drugs, or a weird life style combining all of these factors as is found in the active homosexual life.
"We have known for many years the active homosexual has a shortened life span. Blood samples taken from these men while living or at autopsy reveal large volumes of HIV, but HIV did not cause AIDS, which is the name we have given to this pattern of disease and death.
"But in the 1980's and 1990's, when investigators found the HIV, they proudly proclaimed the discovery of the cause of AIDS. It was HIV. Eureka! They were terribly wrong. The cause of AIDS was and is physical debilitation brought on by chosen life style or more commonly, as in Africa, brought on by malnutrition and neglect. HIV is a spectator virus, an opportunistic virus taking advantage of an already weakened immune system. It lives in many of us who are doing just fine. But health investigators under the spur of public concern falsely identified HIV as a killer virus and they began the chemical assault on this innocent bug. Most of the drugs used in their initial assaults were murderous drugs we used in the early 60's to treat some cancers. We had stopped using them because they were killing more patients than the cancers were, but we reactivated these killer drugs to attack HIV, and the death rate from AIDS shot skywards, but it wasn't the virus that was killing, but rather these enormously lethal drugs we were pouring into these already severely weakened patients.
"Now in desperation, health officials employed even more lethal drugs, and the death rate climbed again. Panic. It's an epidemic! Do we remember those hysterical claims that soon almost all of us would be struck by AIDS? However, it was an epidemic caused not by HIV, but by deadly poisons posing as medicines. With a little more time researchers developed drugs not quite so toxic, and the death rate from AIDS leveled off, and began to even drop. These facts are ignored, or hotly denied because an entire industry and medical specialty has grown-up directed to the treatment of AIDS, supposedly caused by HIV. HIV was just a poor benign virus just trying to make a living when suddenly all hell broke loose. Crazy-eyed medical investigators and the happily collaborating drug companies are making a handsome living in pursuit and annihilation of HIV. But HIV is tough and it will be around long after this huge industry has gone the way of the Stanley Steamer."
This article is a great example of progress made from standing on the shoulders of giants. Instead of rewriting their work, this article is primarily a condensed volume of dozens of other articles from the past. There are dozens of people who have worked for years to expose the current state of affairs, about how criminal behavior is being conducted in stealth by the pharmaceutical players right below our noses, and with the direct assistance of those who we entrust to make certain that such events do not occur. The behavior of the medical community has literally entailed bloody murder, and it has been that way for a very long time. With this article, we attempted to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in the trenches with those heroes who have worked tirelessly to publish this information many times before, often at great personal costs, such as the retributive termination of careers. We cannot possibly thank them all here, but we would like to.
In particular, we give special thanks to the following reporters and agencies:
Brock L. Eide and Fernette F. Eide - The New Atlantis
Dr. J. Michael Bestler
Vera Hassner Sharav
Bruce E. Levine
John W. Whitehead
Dr. Julian Whitaker
Ann Blake Tracy - International Coalition for Drug Awareness
Evelyn Pringle - onlinejournal.com
The Associated Press"