“….Up to 1,000 dead babies and children up to the age of 15 were sent to medical schools by nuns and religious institutions up to the 1970s.
The latest shocking revelation emerged this morning in the fifth interim report from the Mother and Baby Homes commission….”
For full story on Glaxo’s involvement in the Irish baby home experiment scandal see the link here-
“….In 2017, the Irish Examiner revealed that a previously unknown trial of lactose and baby formula was carried out using infants in Bessborough Mother and Baby Home by Glaxo Laboratories in the mid-1970s.
The extend of vaccine trials on children in care in Ireland by British pharmaceutical companies on children in care in Ireland has slowly been emerging through the media over the past 20 years.
These tests involved the trialling of various vaccine combinations by predecessor companies of pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) — Glaxo Laboratories and Burroughs Wellcome.
These revelations generated more questions than answers — answers it is hoped the Mother and Baby Homes Commission can provide.
However, the fact that Glaxo Laboratories was also trialling other products on children here — namely lactose and baby formulas – is a new discovery.
A trial sheet obtained by the Irish Examiner revealed that Glaxo Laboratories carried out a “clinical acceptability and safety trial” of “Golden Ostermilk and Lactose”, while a separate trial sheet reveals a trial of “overseas milk powders (by 0111)”.
The “clinician responsible” for the tests was Eithne Conlon — a local Cork GP who worked with Bessborough for many years.
The trial sheets recorded a range of reactions to the products. These included vomiting (slight, moderate, severe, or none), excessive regurgitation, wind (slight, moderate, severe, or none), stools (locae, normal, or constipated) and stool colour (yellow, grass green, olive green, yellow green, no stools, meconium, changing).
Other “abnormal conditions” were also noted. These included excessive crying, irritability, napkin rash, thrush, and others.
The latter trial sheet was contained in the records of Breda Bonass, who had sought information on her medical history from Tusla under Freedom of Information.
The former only came to light when Ms Bonass sought further information from Tusla.
However, the trial sheet for “Golden Ostermilk and Lactose” was also found in the antenatal records of other women — and all contain identical details including patient numbers — something which the FOI officer told Ms Bonass was “perplexing”.
Ms Bonass asked the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary and GSK for an explanation.
The nuns responded via their solicitors, telling her they no longer held the records nor had any access to them and that she should go to Tusla.
GSK’s UK data protection section informed her that the data had been “destroyed” as the “retention period has already expired some years ago”.
It told this newspaper it was “unable to locate any records relating to a 1974 study” but that it had located records relating to a trial from 1967.
“The records contain no names or information about the children involved,” said GSK in a statement.
With regard to the consent of mothers, GSK said that, due to the fact that it had no records, it could not confirm who gave consent but that its assumption was that it would have been “those Sisters running the homes as the legal guardians”. Obtaining consent would been left to the doctor conducting the trial.
GSK said the identical sheets were probably blank forms or templates and that the information entered “appear to be codes, possibly relating to a spreadsheet collating all responses”.
It also confirmed that this was the first time it was made aware of this study and that it had not been asked to disclose it in any official capacity, “as this is clearly outside of the current Commission’s [Into Mother and Baby Homes] vaccines inquiry”.
The Commission is only tasked with examining vaccine trials carried out by GSK legacy companies, not other forms of product testing that may have occurred.
The inquiry has now been delayed until February 2020. The delays have caused anger to many of the survivors representative groups desperate for answers and justice. The above revelations relate to just one of the homes under its remit. It is looking at many more and, undoubtedly, has access to hundreds of thousands more records.
The issue of Mother and Baby Homes, forced and illegal adoptions, infant deaths and the myriad of practices surrounding the confinement of thousands of women in Ireland are often spoken about as part of Ireland’s past. They are not. The fact we still don’t fully grasp the enormity of what happened shows this is a story with contemporary relevance.
The more you investigate these matters, it is often more questions that emerge – not answers. The Commission has another 12 months to find them.