The release lists overseas facilities whose loss would have a “debilitating impact” on US national security. Included on the list are biopharm production facilities, for products such as vaccines and insulin, located in Europe, Latin America, Australia and Canada.
Publication of the list is among the most controversial aspects of the WikiLeaks release of leaked diplomatic cables. Malcolm Rifkind, former UK Foreign Secretary, said the leak is “bordering on criminal”, adding it contains “the kind of information terrorists are interested in knowing".
The leaked cable, available online here, lists by geography overseas infrastructure the US considers vital to its security. This includes communication hubs, gas pipelines and mines, as well as biopharm sites manufacturing insulin, vaccines, anti-venoms and other products.
Biopharm companies listed in the cable include: Baxter AG, GlaxoSmithKline, Novo Nordisk, Sanofi-Aventis, Genzyme, Novartis, IDT Biologika, Vetter Pharma, Hoffman-La Roche, CSL Behring and Grifols.
in-PharmaTechnologist contacted a number of the biopharm companies for comment. Some were unable to comment in time for publication. Novo Nordisk declined to comment while Novartis made a brief statement.
“Novartis is aware that we have been mentioned in a leaked document on the WikiLeaks website. The information is being reviewed and Novartis has no further comment at this time”, said the company in a statement to in-PharmaTechnologist.
Chemicals and the cable
Also included on the list are a number of chemical production sites. These include a Siemens site in Germany which the cable says performs “essentially irreplaceable production of key chemicals” and a BASF plant described as the “world's largest integrated chemical complex”.
The cable was sent by the US State Department to overseas missions in February 2009 as part of an update of the list of vital infrastructure located outside the US. US diplomats were asked to give input on critical infrastructure but were “not being asked to consult with host governments”.