Medicine and Politics in the GDR: Causes and Effects of Impure Anti-RhD Immunoglobulin 1978-79

Abstract

In 1978 and 1979 around 6.770 women in the GDR were infected with the hepatitis C virus after they had received a contaminated Anti-D-Immunprophylaxis. This prophylaxis was used after delivery, abortion or miscarriage. Until September 1979 2.769 women came down with Hepatitis. The reaction of the state showed how closely medicine and politics were linked in the GDR and what kind of influence governmental decisions had on medical action. The state wanted to keep everything as a secret. The producer of the Anti-D-Immunglobulin in the GDR was sentenced as a pawn sacrifice in a non-public trial. The Ministry of State Security was also involved. Many of the infected women were traumatized by not being informed what had happened and had to fight for recognition and compensation until today.

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