Johns Hopkins, Bristol-Myers must face $1 billion syphilis infection experiment on Guatamalan

Johns Hopkins, Bristol-Myers must face $1 billion syphilis infections suit

(Reuters) – A federal judge in Maryland said The Johns Hopkins University, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (BMY.N) and the Rockefeller Foundation must face a $1 billion lawsuit over their roles in a 1940s U.S. government experiment that infected hundreds of Guatemalans with syphilis.

In a decision on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang rejected the defendants’ argument that a recent Supreme Court decision shielding foreign corporations from lawsuits in U.S. courts over human rights abuses abroad also applied to domestic corporations absent Congressional authorization.

Chuang’s decision is a victory for 444 victims and relatives of victims suing over the experiment, which was aimed at testing the then-new drug penicillin and stopping the spread of sexually-transmitted diseases.

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