Why Bayer's Corporate Image May Need a Face Lift
In Bayer and the Global Compact, Phillipp Mimkes of the Coalition Against Bayer Dangers looks at Bayer's corporate history and why it may be at odds with the Compact, a partnership between the UN and big business. Here, Mimkes offers a few more reasons:
- Biotech Controversy
Bayer is now Europe's number one biotech corporation, since it bought seed company Aventis CropScience for $6.4 billion in October 2001. Bayer now holds more than half of the GM crop varieties up for approval for commercial use. Genetically engineered crops have met with resistance from citizens and some governments in the EU. If the European moratorium on the commercial growing of GM crops is lifted, Bayer will be set to flood Europe's fields with GM oilseed rape and maize. In most European countries Bayer will be responsible for the majority of GM field trials over the next year.
- Didn't Pull HIV Infected Products From the Market
In the early 1990's ago the company admitted knowingly selling HIV-tainted blood clotting products which infected around 50% of the hemophiliac community in developed countries. Subsequent class action suits in the U.S. were settled for $100,000 per claimant, while in Europe the taxpayers were left to foot most of the bill.
- Tried to Suppress Cheaper Generics
Along with aspirin, Bayer's other best know product is the antibiotic Cipro. Beginning in 1997 Bayer paid three of its competitors a total of $200 million to abandon efforts to bring cheaper generic versions of Cipro to market. Bayer was one of the pharmaceutical companies which took the South African government to court for allowing the production of cheap generic versions of HIV drugs. It took international negotiations for the companies to drop the suit.
Does this strike you as the behavior of a company committed to human rights and sustainable development?
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