Bad US Anthrax Vaccine
Given To Canadian
Troops Stirs Firestorm
TORONTO (CP) -- Defence Minister Art Eggleton's claims that an anthrax vaccine was tested before being given to Canadian troops were denied by an American firm which said it only reviewed data produced by the drug manufacturer, CTV News reported Wednesday.
Earlier in the day in the Commons, Eggleton, who was under attack by the opposition, said the vaccine was "fully tested" by "our medical people."
But outside the Commons, he changed his story, CTV said.
"It was a company in the United States but it was not the same company that did the manufacturing," Eggleton said.
But officials with the American firm, Mitretek, told CTV they didn't test the vaccine, they only reviewed testing done by the company that made it, Michigan Biological Products Institute.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration inspected the Michigan plant and found the company had relabelled drugs that expired in 1993 with 1998 dates.
Earlier this week, CTV obtained vaccination documents that showed Canadian troops had been given the relabelled drugs.
The FDA inspection also said vaccines more than three years old may not be stable or potent.
The inspection done just before troops headed to the Gulf in 1998 also found problems with cleaning equipment, mould was found in some samples and some vials were thrown out because they weren't properly sealed.
CTV has also reported that a Canadian Forces memo said the military didn't complete the vaccinations for the troops because there wasn't enough drugs available and states there was a small risk of side effects.
Sgt. Mike Kipling, a 27-year Forces veteran, is at the centre of the controversy after refusing the vaccination order that was given to all Canadian troops in the Gulf.
The Winnipeg-based air force flight engineer was worried the vaccine may be linked to the Gulf War syndrome and is now facing a court martial.
The syndrome is a term used to describe the thousands of Gulf War veterans from the United States, Britain and Canada who came down with unexplainable illnesses after returning from the region.