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Sanofi

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This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on global corporations.

Sanofi, formerly named Sanofi-Aventis,[1] is one of Europe's largest pharmaceutical companies and is based in Paris, France. The company manufactures the allergy medicine Allegra. Its six therapeutic categories are: internal medicine and allergies, cardiovascular, thrombosis (blood clots), central nervous system disorders cancer and metabolic conditions. The company's top selling drugs are the blood thinners Plavix (which it markets with Bristol-Myers Squibb) and Lovenox; the cancer drugs Taxotere and Eloxatine; insulin brand Lantus and Ambien for insomnia. It is also one of the largest vaccine manufacturers, through its Sanofi Pasteur subsidiary.

Sanofi Pasteur has since 2011 been involved in a very public battle with BBC correspondent Malcolm Brabant after he developed a severe psychosis following a vaccine with the company's yellow fever vaccine Stamaril ( on the U.S. market as YF-VAX.) On May 25th 2013, the vaccine-manufacturer admitted to British newspaper The Daily Telegraph that Malcolm Brabant is not the only reported case of mental disorder relating to Sanofi Pasteur's yellow fever vaccine.

In the fiscal year ending in December of 2011, Sanofi reported 33.4 billion dollars in sales.[2] As of March 2012, it had 98,213 employees.[3]

Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council

Sanofi has been a member and corporate funder of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). It was a member of ALEC's Health and Human Services Task Force,[4] a "Vice Chairman" level sponsor of 2011 ALEC Annual Conference[5] ($25,000 in 2010),[6] and gave $3,000 to the Arizona ALEC Scholarship Fund in March 2010.[7] See ALEC Corporations for more.

About ALEC
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our PRWatch.org site.

Aventis, WWII & Auschwitz

During WWI, Bayer had a close association with other German chemical companies, including BASF and Hoechst (now part of Sanofi). This relationship led to the 1925 with merger of these companies, as well as AGFA, and others, to form IG Farben Trust in 1925.[8] Auschwitz was the largest mass extermination factory in human history. However, few people are aware that Auschwitz was a 100% subsidiary of IG Farben. On April 14, 1941, in Ludwigshafen, Otto Armbrust, the IG Farben board member responsible for the Auschwitz project, stated to board colleagues:

"our new friendship with the SS is a blessing. We have determined all measures integrating the concentration camps to benefit our company."

Thousands of prisoners died during human experiments, drug and vaccine testing. Before longtime Bayer employee and SS Auschwitz doctor Helmut Vetter was executed for administering fatal infections, he wrote to his bosses at Bayer headquarters:

"I have thrown myself into my work wholeheartedly. Especially as I have the opportunity to test our new preparations. I feel like I am in paradise."

After WWII, I.G. Farben attempted to shake its abominable image through corporate restructuring and renaming. So great has been their success that the public has no idea that it many of the men responsible for such atrocities, were able to carry on their work even after the collapse of the Nazi regime. Namely a medical paradigm that relies almost exclusively highly toxic drugs. Such men were in control of the large chemical and pharmaceutical companies, both well before and after Hitler. The Nuremberg Tribunal convicted 24 IG Farben board members and executives on the basis of mass murder, slavery and other crimes. Incredibly, most of them had been released by 1951 and continued to consult with German corporations. The Nuremberg Tribunal dissolved the IG Farben into Bayer, Hoechst and BASF, each company 20 times as large as IG Farben in 1944. For almost three decades after WWII, BASF, Bayer and Hoechst (Aventis) filled their highest position, chairman of the board, with former members of the Nazi regime. [9] See also Bayer.

Animal testing

Sanofi does animal testing.

Facility information, progress reports & USDA-APHIS reports

For links to copies of this facility's U.S. Department of Agriculture-Animal Plant Health Inspection (APHIS) reports, other information and links, see also Facility Reports and Information: Sanofi Aventis, Bridgewater, New Jersey.[10]

USDA AWA reports

As of May 26, 2009, the USDA began posting all inspection reports for animal breeders, dealers, exhibitors, handlers, research facilities and animal carriers by state. See also USDA Animal Welfare Inspection Reports

Contract testing

Sanofi contract tests out to Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS). [11] HLS is the 3rd largest contract research organization (CRO) in the world and the largest animal testing facility in all of Europe. Firms hire CROs to conduct animal toxicity tests for agrochemicals, petrochemicals, household products, pharmaceutical drugs and toxins. HLS has a long history of gross animal welfare violations. See also Huntingdon Life Sciences.

Drug safety issues

H5N1 Influenza virus vaccine

See also H5N1 Influenza Virus Vaccine.

Toxic antibiotic trial

In 2006, an antibiotic from Sanofi continued to be used in drug trials with more than 900 children worldwide, even after it was found to cause four times the average rate of acute liver failure in adults. The continued trials of the drug Ketek (Telithromycin) were criticized by a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FD) official and a study consultant.

Initially, Sanofi defended the antibiotic as safe when used as directed. [12] However, after a flurry of negative reports, the company announced on June 8, 2006, that it was voluntarily ceasing the Ketek trials involving children. The FDA also ceased recruitment for the study.

The criticism before Sanofi's reversal was scathing.

"How does one justify balancing the risk of fatal liver failure against one day less of ear pain?" asked Dr. Rosemary Johann-Liang, of the FDA's Office of Drug Safety, in a memo uncovered by the New York Times. [13]

Duke University infectious disease specialist, Dr. Danny Benjamin called the pediatric trial "hard to support." He also noted that antibiotics are less frequently recommended for pediatric treatment of routine ear infections. [14]

Human rights issues

Scamming the poor

In May 2009, the Sanofi-owned subsidiary Aventis Pharmaceutical was fined more than $95 million, "after overcharging US and local health agencies for medications destined for indigent patients" according to U.S. federal prosecutors. Aventis "acknowledged that it violated the False Claims Act by misreporting drug prices for patients in the Medicaid Drug Rebate program for poor patients," reported Agence France-Presse. Aventis "deliberately misquoted the prices, underpaying rebates to Medicaid and overcharging some public health agencies for the medications. The fraud occurred between 1995 and 2000, and concerned the steroid-based anti-inflammatory nasal sprays Azmacort, Nasacort and Nasacort AQ. 'We will continue to be vigilant in investigating and prosecuting those who scam the Medicaid system -- a system that is meant to benefit the poor' said Michael Loucks, acting US Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, in the Justice Department statement. 'When a drug company agrees to be a provider to the Medicaid programs, it agrees to sell its drugs to them at the same price it gives its best customers. We will, as here, pursue those who break their promises.'" [15]

Public relations

Americans for Medical Progress's (AMP) board of directors consists of senior executives and other representatives employed by the pharmaceutical and vivisection industries. Board members represent multinational, billion dollar corporations as well as universities and institutions receiving government grants for vivisection. [16] AMP runs media campaigns targeting animal rights, welfare and health advocacy groups. See also Americans for Medical Progress.

In February 2007, PR Week reported that Sanofi's vaccine business, Sanofi Pasteur, had "awarded business for half its product lines, including its candidate 5-in-1 vaccine Pentacel, to Publicis Public Relations." The contract is "a joint collaboration between Manning Selvage & Lee and Publicis Consultants PR, Publicis' newly rebranded PR offering." The firms will also be promoting "Adacel, the new Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis) vaccine for adolescents and adults," added PR Week. [17]

Lobbying

The company spent $8,352,000.00 on lobbying in 2009. Some firms used were the Duberstein Group, Capitol Counsel and Ricchetti, Inc.[18]

Political contributions

Sanofi gave $136,405 to federal candidates in the 2008 U.S. election through its political action committee (PAC) - 56% to Democrats, 44% to Republicans, and 4% to other parties. [19]

Personnel

Key executives

Public relations

Board members

  • Jean-François Dehecq - Chairman
  • Chris Viehbacher - CEO
  • Uwe Bicker - Director
  • Jean-Marc Bruel - Director
  • Robert Castaigne - Director
  • Patrick de La Chevardière, Director
  • Thierry Desmarest - Director
  • Lord Douro - Director
  • Jean-René Fourtou - Director
  • Claudie Haigneré - Director
  • Igor Landau, Director
  • Christian Mulliez - Director
  • Lindsay Owen-Jones - Director
  • Klaus Pohle - Director
  • Serge Weinberg - Director
  • Gérard Van Kemmel - Director [21]

Contact

French headquarters
174 avenue de France
75013 Paris
France

Phone: (33) 1 5377 4000

Phone (Media): (33) 1 5377 4076

Fax (33) 1 5377 4174

Web address: http://en.sanofi.com/

U.S. office
55 Corporate Drive
Bridgewater, NJ 08807
USA
Phone: 800-981-2491

Articles & sources

SourceWatch articles

References

  1. Sanofi, History, corporate website, accessed October 2012
  2. Sanofi:Financials, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, online corporate profile, accessed October 2012
  3. Sanofi (SAN:EN Paris), Bloomberg BusinessWeek, online corporate profile, accessed October, 2012
  4. American Legislative Exchange Council, HHS Task Force, June 29, 2011, organizational membership spreadsheet, June 29, 2011, p. 32, obtained and released by Common Cause April 2012
  5. American Legislative Exchange Council, 2011 Conference Sponsors, conference brochure on file with CMD, August 4, 2011
  6. American Legislative Exchange Council, Sponsorship Opportunities at ALEC's Annual Meeting, organizational website, 2010, archived on the Wayback Machine, accessed January 24, 2012
  7. Laura Elliott, American Legislative Exchange Council, Draft AZ Scholarship Fund Account, email to [REDACTED], Russell Smoldon, Kristen Harrison and Patty Wisner (Administrative Assistant to Debbie Lesko, January 6, 2011, p. 13, obtained via public records request by DBA Press, accessed April 2012
  8. Hermann Levy Industrial Germany: A study of its Monopoly Organisations and their Control by the State, pg. 65-66, Routledge, November 4 1966, (first published, 1935), ISBN 978-0714613369
  9. Mark Sircus Pharmaceutical Terrorism: The Backbone of Modern Medicine, rawfoodinfo.com, accessed March 2010
  10. Facility Reports and Information: Sanofi-Aventis, Bridgewater, New Jersey, Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!, accessed January 2011
  11. Inside Customers, SHAC.net, accessed January 2009
  12. Antibiotic Linked to Liver Problems, AETNA Health News, May 2006
  13. Gardiner Harris Halt Is Urged for Trials of Antibiotic in Children, New York Times, June 2006
  14. Comparative Study to Evaluate the Efficacy and Safety of Telithromycin Given Once Daily Versus Cefuroxime Axetil Given Twice Daily in Children With Middle Ear Infections, National Institutes of Health, April 2009
  15. "Aventis to pay $95 million to settle fraud charge," Agence France-Presse, May 28, 2009.
  16. Board of Directors, Americans for Medical Progress, accessed January 2011
  17. Marc Longpre Sanofi Pasteur taps Publicis to promote half its vaccines, PR Week, February 2007
  18. Sanofi-Aventis lobbying expenses, accessed February 2010Open Secrets
  19. 2008 PAC Summary Data, Open Secrets, accessed February 2010
  20. Company Description: Sanofi-Aventis, Hoovers, accessed February 2010
  21. Board of Directors, Sanofi-Aventis, accessed February 2010

External articles

Sanofi Pasteur's admission in the Daily Telegraph about mental disorders relating to its yellow fever vaccine 

(statement at the bottom of story) [1]]