In May 2003, I began my investigation of the Incarnation Children’s Center (ICC), an orphanage in New York City’s Washington Heights that was being used by government (N.I.H.) and pharmaceutical companies as a test center for the standard AIDS drugs – AZT and its analogs, Nevirapine, and the various protease inhibitors. ICC received funding from both government and corporate sponsors to enroll its wards, primarily abandoned children of drug (crack cocaine and heroin) abusers, in NIH clinical trials(1). What follows in this series are five excerpts of my October, 2003 interview with ICC’s medical director Dr. Katherine Painter. In the interview, Dr. Painter provides information about:
1. Who gets into ICC and why.
2. The backdoor through which ICC’s wards were used in government/pharma-sponsored Clinical Trials.
3. The measures taken to enforce ‘adherence’ to the drug regimen.4. And a hint of the toxicity of the drugs (ie. their ability to “suppress” bone marrow and cause anemia).
On a personal note, I found it very uncomfortable to talk with the doctor, and to listen to her, as she seemed totally removed from what she was saying; dissociated, in a real sense; inured against the horror of what she was describing, of what she was participating in. Three and a half years later, I still find it almost impossible listen to.