By Damien M
This letter to Baxter International was inspired as a response to the Irish Independent Best Workplaces in Ireland award. Seeing that the company seemed so good, the author decided to check for himself and did a little background research. What he came up with surprised him and will probably surprise you.
Attn: Alan Markey
Baxter Healthcare Ireland
7 Deansgrange Business Park
Dear Mr Markey
From perusing and reading your jubilant result in the ‘2011 Best workplaces in Ireland‘ list I was thrilled at your success and wanted to share in your overwhelming jubilation. I was so overjoyed for your magnificent accomplishment that I decided to find out for myself what kind of company Baxter really is and why being on the Baxter payroll could be such a fantastic experience. As an avid environmentalist with a hawk‘s eye on corporate mischief, I wanted to find out if as you say, “at Baxter we have a very customer-centric philosophy called the Baxter Way” and “as a company Baxter complies with all national and international best practice…Baxter has a Code of Conduct, which sets out the highest standards of business ethics and compliance“, was indeed truthful. I must say I was devastated at what I found out, the truth rocked me to my boots. What I discovered was truly shocking. I have found out that your company, Baxter International, Inc. (HQ in Deerfield, Illinois) and its subsidiary Baxter Healthcare Corporation, are one of the world‘s worst Pharmaceutical companies; routinely fined for fraud, deception, rogue marketing, contaminated products-to name but a few of the scandalous practices that you rogues are engaged in (1,2,3,4,5,6,7). Once I recovered from my initial shock I decided that I had to let as many people as possible know what you scoundrels get up to.
Incredible as it sounds, Baxter has had 40 Class I drug recalls just since 2003, not counting the four this year (6). (The FDA‘s public records on recalls only go back to 2003; for earlier recalls, you have to file a Freedom of Information Act request). At least one warning such as a March 25, 2005 letter regarding Baxter‘s haemodialysis devices says that the FDA had received reports of four deaths which were related to the use of their products (7). But four deaths is miniscule, compared to a 2001 report, where the FDA said it was investigating over 50 patient deaths worldwide that were linked to Baxter dialyzers (8).
What is it about your pharmaceutical company, Mr Markey, with such a long history of blunders, mistakes, and documented lack of safety and poor quality controls? From dozens of recalls of products that caused deaths and injuries, to at least 11 different guilty pleas to fraud and illegal sales activity, to more than 200 lawsuits – many of them stemming from selling AIDS-tainted blood to haemophiliacs – to more than $1.3 billion in criminal fines and civil penalties (9-12), Baxter over the years has racked up a record that makes The Mob look like angels.