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The East-West blood trade : How the German Democratic Republic obtained foreign currency with blood products (1983-1990).
Wien Med Wochenschr. 2018 Nov; 168(15-16):384-390.WM

Abstract

Using the East-West blood trade of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in the 1980s as an example, this study aims to show what kind of problems arise when trade agreements are made with authoritarian regimes, where transparency is lacking and the general public is not informed about the trading conditions. Files from the Ministry of Health and the Foreign Trade Ministry show the extent, aims, and scope of the blood exports to the West. Within the East-West trade, blood was regarded solely as a commercial good; ethical concerns played no part. The blood trade was the most important income source of unscheduled foreign currency for the GDR health sector. People were asked to donate for the wellbeing of society and without receiving remuneration. They were unaware that their blood was an object of commercial trade. Most of the revenue was put into secret accounts of the GDR Foreign Trade Ministry or went to Western intermediaries. The regulations for blood deliveries often challenged the blood donation institutes; they lacked donors, modern techniques/equipment, and personal. Buyers in the West repeatedly complained about the quality of the blood products. The Western intermediaries sold the goods to bulk-buyers, predominantly in German-speaking countries.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Institut für Geschichte und Ethik der Medizin, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Glückstraβe 10, 91054, Erlangen, Germany. rainer@erices.de.

Pub Type(s)

Historical Article
Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

29992447

Citation

Erices, Rainer. "The East-West Blood Trade : How the German Democratic Republic Obtained Foreign Currency With Blood Products (1983-1990)." Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift (1946), vol. 168, no. 15-16, 2018, pp. 384-390.
Erices R. The East-West blood trade : How the German Democratic Republic obtained foreign currency with blood products (1983-1990). Wien Med Wochenschr. 2018;168(15-16):384-390.
Erices, R. (2018). The East-West blood trade : How the German Democratic Republic obtained foreign currency with blood products (1983-1990). Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift (1946), 168(15-16), 384-390. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10354-018-0643-1
Erices R. The East-West Blood Trade : How the German Democratic Republic Obtained Foreign Currency With Blood Products (1983-1990). Wien Med Wochenschr. 2018;168(15-16):384-390. PubMed PMID: 29992447.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - The East-West blood trade : How the German Democratic Republic obtained foreign currency with blood products (1983-1990). A1 - Erices,Rainer, Y1 - 2018/07/10/ PY - 2018/04/06/received PY - 2018/06/19/accepted PY - 2018/7/12/pubmed PY - 2019/6/22/medline PY - 2018/7/12/entrez KW - Authoritarian regime KW - Blood donation KW - Blood trade KW - Codes of ethics KW - GDR East Germany SP - 384 EP - 390 JF - Wiener medizinische Wochenschrift (1946) JO - Wien Med Wochenschr VL - 168 IS - 15-16 N2 - Using the East-West blood trade of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in the 1980s as an example, this study aims to show what kind of problems arise when trade agreements are made with authoritarian regimes, where transparency is lacking and the general public is not informed about the trading conditions. Files from the Ministry of Health and the Foreign Trade Ministry show the extent, aims, and scope of the blood exports to the West. Within the East-West trade, blood was regarded solely as a commercial good; ethical concerns played no part. The blood trade was the most important income source of unscheduled foreign currency for the GDR health sector. People were asked to donate for the wellbeing of society and without receiving remuneration. They were unaware that their blood was an object of commercial trade. Most of the revenue was put into secret accounts of the GDR Foreign Trade Ministry or went to Western intermediaries. The regulations for blood deliveries often challenged the blood donation institutes; they lacked donors, modern techniques/equipment, and personal. Buyers in the West repeatedly complained about the quality of the blood products. The Western intermediaries sold the goods to bulk-buyers, predominantly in German-speaking countries. SN - 1563-258X UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/29992447/The_East_West_blood_trade_:_How_the_German_Democratic_Republic_obtained_foreign_currency_with_blood_products__1983_1990__ L2 - https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10354-018-0643-1 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -