Well the late apology from the government over the Thalidomide disaster is better than never. However, there has to be more recognition of how the disaster is symptomatic of the problems caused by companies having too much economic and social power, which is congruent with their lack of moral responsibility and care for civil liberties. This relates to the growing global health problems resulting from corporate dumping. Corporate dumping occurs when companies offload products, mainly to the third world, to obtain a profit. Take Depo Provera, a contraceptive injection that was outlawed by the FDA until 1992; despite the ban however, Upjohn (the manufactures) had offloaded the product to mainly third world countries since 1969, even though they had evidence of side effects such as cancer.
Women are the biggest victims in these scandals, as the product, which is so often contraception, is often targeted at women. Furthermore, the products are targeted more towards the third world countries too (who have less regulation and safe guards in place), who often have some sort of population control method in place – thus, contraception is often seen as the answer. There are endless cases of women, who are involuntary given the drugs or mislead and lied to by the professions, in order for them to comply. This is a major civil liberty issue in the developing countries (and as shown by Thalidomide, in developed countries too), and is something that we should be helping research and address.
With this in mind, the Conservatives close affiliation with the private companies (as shown by Lansley’s love bomb from the CareUK) is worrying. It is unlikely civil rights issues and the power of big businesses on people’s (especially women’s) health will actually concern them. As long as the Conservatives can sustain their private offices and buy their way into power, they will be happy.
Whilst the governmental financial help for those who suffered from the Thalidomide disaster is a welcomed move, there is a desperate need for more research and consideration of the effects that financial interests are having on people’s health all over the world. It is rather hypocritical to be fighting a war in Afghanistan on the basis of building a ‘democracy’ to then fail to adequately help protect a fundamental civil right of health by reducing the ability private companies have to abuse people across the world, as they keep on doing.