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9 Aug 2023

Ireland: GlaxoSmithKline reportedly rejected State requests to pay reparations for vaccine trials on children in mother-and-baby homes; incl. company response

In January 2021, the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes in Ireland published the findings of its inquiry into the treatment of about 56,000 unmarried mothers and 57,000 children who were placed or born into mother and baby homes, mostly run by religious orders, between 1922 and 1998. Mothers suffered harsh conditions, emotional abuse and many were forced to work and separated from their children. There were alarmingly high rates of infant and child mortality.

The report also details how vaccine and infant milk formula trials were conducted on some 1,148 children without the consent of their parents or guardians. The trials all involved either the Wellcome Foundation or Glaxo Laboratories, who are today both part of the pharmaceutical corporation GlaxoSmithKline.

Following the publication of the report, the Irish Government agreed on a €800 million redress scheme for former residents. According to internal files seen by the Irish Times, who reported on this in February 2023, GlaxoSmithKline repeatedly rejected State demands to pay reparations.

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited GlaxoSmithKline to respond. Their full response is available below.