Dec 102010
 
 December 10, 2010  Breaches, Court

Cameron Langford reports:

Texas illegally “sold, trade, bartered and distributed” babies’ blood to private companies and the Pentagon without asking or telling their parents, after taking the blood as part of Texas’ “mandatory newborn screening program,” parents claim in a federal class action. Blood from 8,800 babies was sold or traded for lab equipment from private companies and from the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology – and Texas “knowingly and deceptively withheld this information during settlement negotiations” of a previous lawsuit, the parents say.

Named plaintiffs Jeffrey Higgins and Andromida McCall sued the Texas Department of State Health Services and its Commissioner David Lakey, M.D.

Read more on Courthouse News. You can also read the 10-page complaint on their site.

An earlier lawsuit over the sale of babies’ blood had been mentioned on this blog in February . The current lawsuit alleges that all of the facts did not come out in that case and that the state’s representations were not true:

“The purposes for which the private companies and government agencies used the samples are undisclosed and unrelated to the purposes for which the infants’ blood was originally drawn. Defendants have distributed, sold, bartered, and traded at least 8,800 blood samples. … There is no compelling state justification for such secretive, deceptive, and non-consensual activity.

“Defendants knowingly and deceptively withheld this information during settlement negotiations in Beleno v. Texas Department of State Health Services in this Court (No. SA-09-CA-0188-FB (U.S. Dist. Ct, West Dist. Tex., San Antonio Div.)), a lawsuit seeking to end the unlawful storage of newborn blood samples for an indefinite amount of time. Defendants were repeatedly asked during the negotiations process whether they ever distributed or sold blood samples containing deeply private medical and genetic information to other state or federal agencies or private companies. Defendants consistently denied they had ever engaged in such a practice and attributed such concerns to paranoia on the part of the parents involved in that case. They also made similar false representations to the Texas Legislature, which were videotaped.

Of course, a lawsuit is not a finding of fact – but these are serious allegations and this issue will continue to be followed on PHIprivacy.net.

Cross-posted from PHIprivacy.net