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Avian flu, trade in expired vaccines. «With 100 lire I earned millions»

 Illegal trafficking of viruses, with a relative tariff that rises in price according to the dangerousness of the strain sold. A "company" that exploits public interests (the protection of health) to favor private interests (the sale of medicines). The «commercial mind of the company» is – according to him – the virologist of the Istituto zooprofilattico delle Venezie Ilaria Capua (Deputy of Civic Choice). The one who "holds the compass" of the business is her husband Richard Currie, manager of the multinational Fort Dodge. The common goal is «to make money… with a hundred lire». A capillary and alarming system of corruption has been discovered by the Rome Public Prosecutor's Office in an investigation that has just concluded which challenges 41 people, including ministerial officials and managers of pharmaceutical giants, from receiving stolen goods to corruption, from administering medicines in a way dangerous to public health to attempted epidemics, from extortion to abuse of office.

In a telephone call dated June 23, 2006, Capua explains to Stefano Marangon, medical director of the IZS of Padua, that her husband is dealing with the sale of some viral strains: «We charge them two thousand and five for those with low pathogenicity (...) we could charge 5 thousand for this. But then after... that I'm actually the commercial mind of the company... I said sorry why don't we make him pay royalties? And Richard said he would think about it (…) Because Stefano… all the vaccines in circulation, practically all of them, are made with our viruses ». In fact, in a telephone call on 19 September 2006, speaking to her collaborator Giovanni Cattoli about the shipment to the United States of a highly pathogenic H7N1 avian influenza virus strain of Italian origin in favor of the Fort Dodge America company, the virologist admits "because they give us 5,000 euros to ship the viruses". All in defiance of the risk of a pandemic that may derive from the spread of a virus which is, among other things, deadly to humans. Speaking with Marangon, on March 30, 2007, Capua unburdened himself thus: «I'm sick of passing for a pirate».

The corruptive exchange between the officials of the IZS delle Venezie and the Fort Dodge and Merial companies is evident in the contract for the exploitation of the Diva test patent. The Institute does not keep for itself the sums received from pharmaceutical companies, in the form of royalties, but pays them to the three patent holders: Marangon, Capua and Cattoli.

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Fedaiisf Federazione delle Associazioni Italiane degli Informatori Scientifici del Farmaco e del Parafarmaco