French Health Officials Gave People AIDS Just To Spite The USA
There are a lot of ways a politician can screw you over, but "literally giving you AIDS" takes it to a whole new level. Like, it's hard to imagine a worse scandal that doesn't involve the words "orphanage" and "giant metallic crab." So the people of France were understandably pretty upset to learn that health officials had allowed around 1,250 hemophiliacs to be given HIV-infected blood in 1984 and 1985, 400 of whom had died by 1994. This wasn't the work of some low-level bureaucrats, either. Health Minister Edmund Herve and Prime Minister Laurent Fabius were both charged with manslaughter over it.
What could they possibly get out of this? Well, they wanted all the honor (and profit) of leading the charge ... in the fight against AIDS.
By 1984, an American company had already developed a way to treat plasma products to make sure they were free of HIV, but a French company wanted time to develop their own method. So, as shown in leaked letters, French officials deliberately dragged their feet in approving the foreign method, despite knowing that the blood banks used by hemophiliacs contained contaminated blood.
When evidence of the scandal started stacking up (along with the corpses), the courts finally had to get involved. Herve was convicted of manslaughter in 1999, but received no jail time, while former PM Fabius was outright acquitted. Most of the officials involved were charged with "fraudulent description of goods," which is a pretty weak punishment for giving people AIDS. If you ordered a pizza and Papa John came over to your house and personally blew up your car, you'd hope he'd be charged with more than "failure to deliver pizza," you know?
If only Calculatin' Coke Stevens had been able to read How To Fight Presidents. Could've saved his life.
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