Archive for the ‘Drug testing’ Category


“Cash for Blood” operations in U.S. prisons.

January 21, 2013


“Cash for Blood” operations weren’t all off shore, but the degree of exploitation within the United States was equal in many ways to the degree of each client’s freedom. Austin R. Stough, a physician from Oklahoma, opened a plasmapheresis center in the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in 1962. By the close of 1963, Dr. Stough had similar facilities operating in the Kilby, Draper, and Atmore prisons in Alabama, and another at the Cummins Farm Prison in Arkansas. Unfortunately, the cases of viral hepatitis, an often fatal disease of the liver, began climbing sharply during the same time period and the following year prisoners were dying of infectious hepatitis. The exact number of cases in the five prisons was never established. Many records were never completed, and other simply vanished. Byron Emery, an official of Cutter Laboratories, one of the U.S. blood industries major players at that time, told federal authorities that he was appalled by the conditions he found when he visited an Alabama prison in 1964. He said the plasmapheresis rooms were “sloppy” and that gross contamination of the rooms with donors’ plasma was evident. Emery actually acknowledged that Dr. Stough clearly could not be trusted to properly supervise the program. Nevertheless, Cutter remained one of Dr. Stough’s biggest customers.

inmatesmokingWhen Stough’s operations were finally closed down, he quickly began opening new facilities in some of the same prisons where he used prisoners as guinea pigs to test new drugs for the pharmaceutical industry. According to a New York Times article published in 1969, those companies included the Wyeth Laboratories Division of American Home Products Corporation; the Lederle Laboratories Division of American Cyanamid Company; the Bristol-Myers Company; the E.R. Squibb & Sons Division of Squibb Beach-Nut Inc.; the Merck, Sharp & Dohme Division of Merck & Co.; and the Upjohn Company.