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California companies sued for selling fetal tissue for profit

The companies are accused of obtaining fetal tissue from abortion providers and selling them for fees beyond the cost of processing.

By Stephen Feller
California companies sued for selling fetal tissue for profit
The Orange County District Attorney has sued two California companies for obtaining fetal cells and tissues and reselling them to researchers and companies for a profit, which is illegal under state and federal law. Photo by Constantine Pankin/Shutterstock

YORBA LINDA, Calif., Oct. 13 (UPI) -- Two medical companies in California were sued for illegally profiting from the sale of fetal tissue after obtaining it from abortion providers.

The Orange County District Attorney's Office alleges DV Biologics and DaVinci Biosciences obtained fetal-derived cells and tissues and sold them to drug companies and academic institutions for a profit, a violation of state and federal law.

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Prosecutors say the business was lucrative -- charging as much as $700 for tissue that cost about $20 to process -- and want the companies to reimburse researchers who feel they overpaid for tissues and cells.

"Shipments of research materials were made only to other scientists working at fully accredited universities and laboratories," the company said in a statement. "This is a civil lawsuit over cost-accounting issues. We look forward to explaining the full story to the court."

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While it is legal to accept donations of fetal tissue and companies are permitted to recoup fees for processing the tissue, there are tight limits on the amount of money that may be charged.

Prosecutors say there is no evidence either company exchanged money with Planned Parenthood or other abortion providers, or that the providers themselves broke the law. The two companies, however, set prices as high as possible to maximize profits, and then offered discounts and coupons to meet sales goals, according to the lawsuit.

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"We are simply charging DV Biologics, DaVinci Biosciences and a father and his two sons with illegally selling hundreds of fetal tissue products for profit and treating human parts as commodities instead of giving it the respect the law intended," said Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. "This lawsuit is aimed at taking the profit out of selling body parts."

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