Companies Sued for Alleged Purchase of Body Parts from UCLA Medical School
Attorneys at Los Angeles law firm Geragos & Geragos on Tuesday filed suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court against companies that allegedly purchased body parts stolen from cadavers donated to the University of California-Los Angeles School of Medicine for medical research, the Los Angeles Times reports (Riccardi, Los Angeles Times, 3/16). According to invoices printed on UCLA letterhead, Henry Reid, director of the UCLA willed body program, charged Ernest Nelson $704,600 between 1998 and 2003 for the sale of 496 cadavers donated to the program. Nelson allegedly sold the body parts to a number of large medical research companies. Earlier this month, police arrested Reid for grand theft and Nelson for receipt of stolen property (California Healthline, 3/16). State law prohibits the sale of body parts for profit. Attorneys filed the lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, on behalf of Carol Francis Martin, whose husband's body was donated to UCLA. The lawsuit names Johnson & Johnson and a subsidiary that purchased body parts from Nelson as defendants (Los Angeles Times, 3/18). J&J officials last Tuesday admitted that subsidiary Mitek purchased body parts from Nelson. Massachusetts-based Mitek manufactures devices that treat soft-tissue injuries, according to J&J spokesperson Marc Monseau. Monseau did not provide details on the amount of body parts purchased or the price that Mitek paid (California Healthline, 3/10). A J&J spokesperson declined to comment on the lawsuit. The lawsuit does not name UCLA as a defendant, but attorneys likely will add the university later, according to the Times (Los Angeles Times, 3/18).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.