cover image Blood Farm: The Explosive Big Pharma Scandal That Altered the AIDs Crisis

Blood Farm: The Explosive Big Pharma Scandal That Altered the AIDs Crisis

Cara McGoogan. Diversion, $28.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-635-76888-6

Journalist McGoogan debuts with a stunning investigation of a decades-long global scandal in which a treatment for hemophilia infected patients with fatal viruses. While the 1973 introduction of Factor VIII, a clotting protein derived from donated plasma, allowed for a massive improvement in the day-to-day lives of people with hemophilia, it also served as a means of transmission of bloodborne illnesses, including hepatitis C and HIV. Noting that the potential for transmission of disease via plasma was suspected but not proven at the time, McGoogan reveals that pharmaceutical companies aware of the danger nevertheless harvested relatively cheaper plasma from donors at higher risk of having bloodborne diseases, including prisoners, and used it to make Factor VIII, thereby increasing their profit margins. Even after transmission was proven, the same companies continued to sell the tainted Factor VIII to countries in Asia and Latin America, resulting in “forty thousand people with hemophilia [who] contracted HIV.” McGoogan builds her airtight case on interviews with doctors, government officials, patients, and, most strikingly, the survivors of a boarding school for boys with disabilities in England, where dozens of hemophiliac students infected in the 1970s and ’80s have since died. Readers will be horrified. (Oct.)