Old Wine in New Bottles

Author : Dr. P D Gupta 

Former Director Grade Scientist, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad (INDIA), Email: pdg2000@hotmail.com, Cell: 080728 91356


Beg, Barrow or Steal...no they do not do that,  only you go and give to them willingly. Others are making money by selling your organs, cells, DNA or even Information on your DNA , the brokers get billions by making you fool.

With the advancement of technology business strategies also changed, you go and give yourself happily and willingly the items which you own (?*) in the market for sell. Surprisingly, they mint money on what you gave to them and they don’t share any money with you. 

This practice is not new, human trade was a old practice, people sell their daughter, son, wife, etc. You might have knowledge about selling, human organ also. The brokers in this trade feed a $50 billion market research industry with information that is primarily used to sell us things.  But the “Hidden Trade” which you are going to read started in the year 1951. A woman named Henrietta Lacks died of cervical cancer. Before she died, and without her or her family’s knowledge, scientists at Johns Hopkins gathered her cells to be used in research. Her cells were the first that were successfully grown in the lab, making them useful as a basis for ongoing scientific research.   

   The Founder of biomedical industry

Portrait of Henrietta Lacks, by selling her cells the so called brokers minted billions of Dollars. HeLa cells, the first human biological materials ever bought and sold, launched a biomedical industry that today is worth hundreds of billions of dollars, unfortunately, neither Henrietta Lacks nor her family received any compensation for the use of her cells.

Over the next 70 years, HeLa cells, as they became known, were grown in research labs and sold to pharmaceutical companies worldwide. HeLa cells were instrumental in the development of the polio vaccine, AIDS treatments, gene-mapping, cloning, in-vitro fertilization, and much more.

From the last 70 years since the establishment of HeLa cell line all kinds of health data are being scooped up, archived, and sold. Anything found in an electronic health record, from a diagnosis to your doctor’s notes, is being anonymized and then collected. Every sales transaction at a pharmacy is archived. Your steps, heart rate, and location data are being sent to the cloud. Even human cells and genetic material from biopsies are being captured and resold.

 In many ways patient data is used may surprise you.

Some of it’s uses in various sectors

Drug companies , develop new drugs,

Health care units, develop medical devices, 

For advancing knowledge, research organisations 

Pharma companies, therapies and development of new drugs,

Health care providers, market healthcare services,

Medicare and life insurance companies, insurance coverage,

As evidence in the court, forensic investigations, and

Still other data finds its way to law enforcement agencies.

(The author has his own study and views)