Apr. 27, 2005 – Advocates are calling for a special investigation of a New York City agency that facilitated experimentation with strong AIDS drugs on some 465 HIV-positive foster children. City officials oversaw experiments on subjects ranging in age from infancy to adolescence between the late 1980s and 2001, according to city council members and the mayorâ€™s office.
The Administration for Childrenâ€™s Services, which facilitated the experiments, has defended its actions. Insisting that the only error it may have committed was clerical, the agency requested an independent review by a nonprofit organization, the Vera Institute for Justice. That investigation, an ACS spokesperson told Newsday, will determine if the childrenâ€™s guardians and doctors properly approved the drug treatments, as well as whether the drugs were administered on the basis of "sound medical knowledge."
But two Democratic members of the city council, Bill Perkins and Charles Barron, have called for a probe by the cityâ€™s Department of Investigations, the agency that looks into allegations of unethical conduct, fraud and corruption.
Activists advocating for victims of unethical medical research consider this case particularly egregious. They have questioned whether the families of the children enrolled were properly informed of the trial and whether the medications helped or harmed the children. Some have also accused government officials of violating medical research standards in order to cater to chemical, pharmaceutical and pesticide industries.