Posted by Gabrielle Vanadia.
Recently, there has been a lawsuit filed in federal court against three major American corporations for supposedly doing business with the Iraqi government during the Iraq War. This lawsuit was filed by lawyers from a start-up firm led by Ryan Sparacino and the litigation firm of Kellogg Hansen, on behalf of members of the American military that were killed or injured in attacks during the Iraq War. General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer are three of the major corporations being accused of providing free drugs and medical devices that funded the Shiite militia. Other companies accused of contributing are the European drug makers AstraZeneca and Roche Holding A.G. The lawsuit filed provided contracts between these companies and Iraqi government, as well as “leaked diplomatic cables, press accounts, and the testimony of informants.”
The lawsuit claims that the companies knew that the Iraqi health ministry, who they were providing with drugs, had become a terrorist organization. Upon knowledge of this information, the corporations should have terminated their contracts or changed them to prevent corruption, since it is illegal under United States law to knowingly fund terrorist groups. However, a Pfizer spokeswoman said that the company “denies any wrongdoing” and that their mission was to “provide medicines to patients to help better their lives;” while Johnson & Johnson has completely declined to comment on this matter.
In my opinion, the actions of these companies are completely unacceptable. They willingly and knowingly funded a terrorist group that was attacking United States soldiers. American soldiers were in Iraq to help rebuild and regain the country for the Iraqis after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. However, instead of American companies backing and funding their own troops, they helped the enemy. The militia group that U.S. soldiers were fighting were commonly referred to as the “Pill Army” because their “fighters were often paid with prescription medicines and used hospitals… as staging areas for death squads.” Many of these death squads funded by drugs from American companies killed American soldiers. If I was an employee of one of the accused American corporations I would be embarrassed and ashamed of my company’s actions.
Gabrielle is a public relations major with a business administration minor at Seton Hall University, Class of 2019.