- Associated Press - Friday, December 8, 2017

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) - Orange County prosecutors have settled a lawsuit with two medical companies accused of illegally profiting from the sale of fetal tissue.

The Orange County District Attorney’s office said on Friday that authorities reached a $7.8 million settlement with DV Biologics and DaVinci Biosciences.

Under the settlement, the companies acknowledged they illegally sold the fetal tissue for “valuable consideration.” The companies must cease all business in California and donate $7.5 million in samples, tissues and cells to a medical school affiliate.

“These companies will never be able to operate again in Orange County or the State of California,” District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said in a statement.

Defense attorney Michael Tein said in an email to The Associated Press that this “was a hotly contested case, to say the least. In the end, the parties worked together towards a settlement that benefits medical research. … From the beginning, this has always been DV’s mission.”

Prosecutors sued last year alleging the businesses collected tens of thousands of dollars in revenue by selling fetal tissue and stem cells donated from abortion providers to research groups around the world.

It is illegal to profit from the sale of fetal parts, but an organization providing the tissue can charge a fee to recover its expenses.

The two companies were operated by the same people and shared office space and employees.

Prosecutors began investigating the businesses after a complaint was filed by the Center for Medical Progress in 2015.

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