Fresenius is a healthcare company that owns dialysis clinics and manages hospitals, in addition to manufacturing medicines and medical supplies. In 2016, the company agreed to pay out $250 million in compensation to families of U.S. patients who died of heart attacks after being treated with GranuFlo and NaturaLyte treatments used in dialysis machines, for failing to warn them about potentially deadly side effects. Fresenius has also been fined $50 million after employees were caught destroying records prior to a 2013 inspection of a plant that manufactured cancer medicines in Kalyani, West Bengal, India.
Dialysis services, health insurance, infusion pumps, cancer drugs, hospital management
|TOP 5 OFFENSE GROUPS (GROUPS DEFINED)||PENALTY TOTAL||NUMBER OF RECORDS|
(March 27, 2023)
- Threats to the Right to Health in the Basque Country: Social inequalities and privatization processes in the health system by Medicus Mundi (2017)
- Trade Union Strategies Against Healthcare Marketization: Opportunity Structures and Local-Level Determinants by Jennie Auffenberg (2021)
- Our Health, Their Profit? Case Studies on Union Busting by Healthcare Corporations and Trade Union Resistance by Lucy Redler/the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation (2021)
- Fresenius and the Jiménez Díaz Foundation in Madrid :a citizen audit of the debt generated by the privatisation of hospitals by the Citizen Healthcare Debt Audit work group on behalf of the ENCO network (2021)
- Fresenius: Failing to Care by the Centre for International Corporate Tax Accountability and Research (CICTAR), Netzwerk Steuergerechtigkeit, European Public Service Union (EPSU) and Public Services International (PSI) (2020)
- Some Lives over Others by Fundación SOL (2020)
- Fully Privatized: The Healthcare System in Germany before Covid-19 by Forum Umwelt & Entwicklung (2020)
- Fighting the actors of financialization and prohibiting profit on illegitimate private and public debt by CADTM, Collectif, Virginie de Romanet, Renaud Vivien, PAH, Antonio Gambini, ACiDe, Vicente Losada, Eva Betavatzi, Gilles Grégoire, Spanish Platform against vulture funds, Mats Lucia Bayer, Walter Actis, Ángel del Castillo, Mari Ángeles Bueno, Roberto Moreno, Miguel Vázquez, Pedro Martin Heras (2020)
- The Double Standard at Work: European Corporate Investment and Workers’ Rights in the American South by the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) (2019)
- Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients by Ben Goldacre (2012)
- Investing for Life: Meeting Poor People’s Needs for Access to Medicines through Responsible Business Practices by Oxfam International (2007)
- Benchmarking AIDS: Evaluating Pharmaceutical Company Responses to the Public Health Crisis in Emerging Markets by the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (2006)
- Branding the Cure: A Consumer Perspective on Corporate Social Responsibility, Drug Promotion and the Pharmaceutical Industry in Europe by Consumers International (2006)
- A Healthy Business? World Health and the Pharmaceutical Industry by Andrew Chetley (1990)
New CorpWatch Guide to Healthcare Privatization in Europe
Paula Reisdorf | CorpWatch | October 24, 2022
CorpWatch is publishing a guide to over a dozen of the worst companies profiting from healthcare privatization in Europe. Workers are being paid less, clinics are being shut, and worse yet: people's health is suffering and death rates are increasing to line the pockets of investors and top managers.
Quirónsalud Profits From Increasing Healthcare Privatization in Spain
Elena Rogozenska & Elisa Emch | CorpWatch | November 18, 2021
In mid-September Juan Carlos López & María del Carmen Florencio took their four-month-old daughter Valentina to Quirónsalud’s hospital in Málaga, Spain, with a fever. Over the next few days, they returned again and again. Each time, the doctors misdiagnosed her.
Quirónsalud se beneficia de la expansión de la sanidad privada en España
Elena Rogozenska & Elisa Emch | CorpWatch | November 18, 2021
A mediados del pasado mes de septiembre, Juan Carlos López y María del Carmen Florencio llevaron a su hija Valentina de cuatro meses al hospital Quirónsalud de Málaga, España, con fiebre. Volvieron una y otra vez a lo largo de los próximos días. Los médicos se equivocaron de diagnóstico cada vez.
Other Key Sources
- Business and Human Rights Resource Centre's profile on Fresenius Medical Care - UK-based Business and Human Rights Resource Centre is an NGO that employs researchers on five continents who work with activists, companies and governments alike to advance human rights in business by eradicating abuse.
- Business and Human Rights Resource Centre's profile on Fresenius Kabi - UK-based Business and Human Rights Resource Centre is an NGO that employs researchers on five continents who work with activists, companies and governments alike to advance human rights in business by eradicating abuse.
- Mirador's profile on Fresenius - Mirador is a project of the Belgium-based NGO Research Group for an Alternative Economic Strategy (GRESEA), which monitors abuse carried out by the largest multinational corporations in Belgium and the world.
Germany: Nurses strike at the Helios Hospital in Erfurt
Andreas Kehrer | MDR | March 9, 2023
According to Verdi, at least 250 employees at the Helios Hospital in Erfurt stopped work on Wednesday. (There have been yearly warning strikes at Fresenius subsidiary Helios' hospitals in Germany called by the unions Ver.di and Marburger Bund as part of the tariff negotiations.)
USA: California dialysis clinic workers push to unionize over short-staffing and low pay
Michael Sainato | The Guardian | February 7, 2023
Two corporations, DaVita and Fresenius, own about 70% of the dialysis clinics in the US and the growth of large corporate chains in the market resulted in increased patient loads of 11.7% per employee, according to a 2019 analysis of 1,200 dialysis clinic acquisitions over a 12-year period.
France: End of the strike movement at Smad: a compromise found
Le Progrès | April 28, 2022
Radoine Doudou, CGT-Smad union representative, commented on the end of the dispute, launched on April 14 on the site of Smad (company that manufactures equipment for dialysis), which belongs to the Fresenius Medical Care group.
Fresenius Workers in Slovenia Organize, Win “Life-Changing” Pay Rise
UNI Global Union | February 2, 2022
After more than 18-months of organizing during a global pandemic, dialysis workers at six Fresenius Medical Care’s Nefrodial hospitals in Slovenia improved conditions and pay through their first company-specific agreement.
Spain: Protest against working conditions in the dialysis service
El Diario Montañés | January 12, 2022
The staff of Fresenius Medical Care, concessionaire of the dialysis service of the Cantabrian Health Service (SCS), have come together in protest this Tuesday to denounce their "precarious" working conditions at the company's headquarters in Santander...
Germany: Fresenius Medical Care: FMC works council announces protest against job cuts
Klinik Einkauf Magazin | November 17, 2021
Employee representatives have announced resistance to the planned reduction of 5,000 jobs at the dialysis group Fresenius Medical Care (FMC). This was announced by the chairwoman of the general works council at FMC on November 15, 2021 in Bad Homburg.
Kyrgyzstan: People in need of hemodialysis hold rally at Ministry of Health in Bishkek
Ruslan Kharizov | KG | November 11, 2020
"That is, the overpayment to Fresenius Medical Care Center is 2,112 soms. At least 127 people in need of hemodialysis could get help for this money," they say.
FMC Korea Union Secures First Collective Bargaining Agreement with German Multinational Fresenius
UNI Global Union | June 5, 2020
“So many years of struggle are finally paying off for our brothers and sisters of FMC Korea,” said UNI Global Union Deputy General Secretary Alke Boessiger.
Fresenius: unions launch first-ever global care workers’ alliance
Public Services International | May 15, 2019
More than 50 workers and union representatives from Europe, North and South America and Asia will converge on 16 and 17 May in Frankfurt/Main, Germany – in parallel with Fresenius’ annual general meeting of shareholders. Fresenius directly employs around 280,000 workers in 100 countries.
Workers at Fresenius Kabi in Chile call off strike after reaching agreement
IndustriALL | April 5, 2018
The Fresenius Kabi Chilean Workers Union at the Sanderson Plant achieved an important victory after securing a pay rise on March 22. As a result of this development, the union called off its official strike which began on March 14.
Germany: Bad Schwalbach: protest against the closure of the Helios Hospital
Hannelore Wiedemann | Wiesbadener Kurier | January 20, 2018
"Health before profit" is written on the banner that is set up in front of the entrance to the Helios Hospital. "The closure of the hospital must be prevented" - that is the central demand that the district association of the left wants to underline with a demonstration on Friday afternoon...
South Africa: Workers on strike at another PE drug company
Joseph Chirume | GroundUp | August 26, 2016
Workers at Fresenius Kabi pharmaceutical manufacturing company in Port Elizabeth downed tools on Tuesday, in protest against the use of a labour broker and planned retrenchments.
- Fresenius Global Union Alliance
- European Public Service Union (EPSU)
- European Network of Corporate Observatories (ENCO)
- UNI Global Union
- Public Services International
- AIDS Healthcare Foundation
- Center for Science in the Public Interest
- Community Catalyst
- Consumers International
- Doctors Without Borders
- Health Action International
- Oxfam International
- Labour Start Campaigns
- UNI Global Union - Asia & Pacific (UNIAPRO)
- UNI Global Union - Americas
- People Over Profit
- Committee for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debt (CADTM)
- Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO)
- United Services Trade Union (Ver.di)
- Marburg Federation
- Fresenius Watch
- Association of Ethical Shareholders
- Rosa Luxemburg Foundation
- Hospitals Instead of Factories
- Environment & Development Forum (Forum UE)
- Municipal Employers' Association of Bavaria (KAV Bayern)
- Free Workers' Union (FAU)
- Tax Justice Network
- Families USA
- Public Citizen Health Research Group
- Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility
- Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU)
- Service Employees International Union - United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW)
- Turkish Petroleum, Chemical and Rubber Industry Workers' Union - Turkey
- National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) - Canada
- Korea Democratic Pharmaceutical Workers Union (KDFU) - Korea
USA: DOJ files False Claims Act case against dialysis giant Fresenius alleging unnecessary vascular procedures
Heather Landi | Fierce Healthcare | July 13, 2022
The whistleblower complaint alleges that from about January 1, 2012 through June 30, 2018, Fresenius routinely performed certain procedures on patients with end stage renal disease (ESRD) who were receiving dialysis, without sufficient clinical indication that the patients needed the procedures.
USA: Fresenius Former General Counsel Files Suit Alleging Retaliatory Firing
Richard Vanderford | Wall Street Journal | April 24, 2022
Fresenius Medical Care AG is being sued by its North American unit’s former general counsel, Douglas Kott, who alleges the healthcare company fired him for reporting possible misconduct.
USA: Complaint Alleges California Dialysis Providers—Including Fresenius—Discriminate Against Latino and Asian Patients
UNI Global Union | January 12, 2022
The complaint, submitted to the department’s Office for Civil Rights, details how the dialysis providers disproportionately subjected Latino and Asian American patients to unsafe and potentially lethal dialysis treatment at a rate approximately 50 per cent higher than that of their white counterparts.
USA: Fresenius Medical Care Settles $6,000,000.00 Lawsuit
Kidney Buzz | October 19, 2021
Two workers filed a private attorney general action and a class-action lawsuit against Fresenius based on its alleged failure to provide legally compliant rest and meal periods, overtime pay, wage statements, final paychecks, and other alleged wage and hour violations of California labor laws.
USA: Indian drugmaker to pay $50mn in fine for destroying records before FDA inspection
Economic Times | February 10, 2021
An Indian drug manufacturer (Fresenius Kabi Oncology Limited (FKOL)) has agreed to plead guilty to concealing and destroying records prior to a 2013 US Food and Drug Administration's inspection of its plant and pay USD 50 million in fines and forfeiture...
USA: Fresenius Agrees to Pay $5.2 Million to Resolve Allegations that it Overbilled Medicare for Hepatitis B Tests
Department of Justice U.S. Attorney’s Office District of Massachusetts | October 9, 2019
The United States Attorney’s Office announced today that Fresenius Medical Care Holdings, Inc., d/b/a Fresenius Medical Care North America, Inc., the largest operator of kidney dialysis clinics in the United States, has agreed to pay $5.2 million to resolve allegations that the company ...
USA: Whistleblower alleges DaVita, Fresenius involved in kickback scheme
Shelby Livingston | Modern Healthcare | August 2, 2019
A whistleblower has alleged that DaVita Kidney Care and Fresenius and charity organization American Kidney Fund were involved in a years-long kickback scheme in which patients were incentivized to use only those dialysis providers who donated to the charity.
USA: Fresenius Medical Care to pay $231 million to resolve criminal, civil foreign bribery charges
Sarah N. Lynch, Nate Raymond | Reuters | March 19, 2019
Germany-based dialysis clinic operator Fresenius Medical Care AG will pay about $231 million to resolve criminal and civil allegations that the company paid bribes to public health and government officials in several countries to win or retain business, the U.S. Justice Department said on Friday.
Chile: The Court for the Defense of Competition fined the Fresenius Kabi and Sanderson laboratories for forming a cartel
Heraldo de Oregón | November 12, 2018
The Court for the Defense of Free Competition (TDLC) decided to fine Fresenius Kabi Chile and Sanderson laboratories for forming a cartel to affect the tenders of the Central Supply of the National Health Services System (Cenabast) to acquire medicine ampoules.
USA: Fresenius agrees to $250 million settlement in class action lawsuits over heart attacks linked to dialysis drugs GranuFlo and NaturaLyte
Charles Miller | HO&P Lawfirm | March 2, 2016
Multiple class action lawsuits had been filed against Fresenius over allegations that the company did not adequately warn patients about a potential increased risk of heart attack or stroke linked to GranuFlo and NaturaLyte.
UK: Runcorn firms fined £500,000 over death of diabetic patient
Liverpool Echo | July 9, 2015
The agency said Fresenius Kabi, of Eastgate Way, Manor Park, Runcorn, was fined a total of £500,000 and ordered to pay a further £5,900 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Sections 64(1) and 67(2) of the Medicines Act 1968.
Pharma giant threatens Danish scientist
Jeppe Wojcik | Science Nordic | July 24, 2012
Fresenius Kabi is threatening to lodge a compensation claim worth millions after Professor Anders Perner published a study arguing that a common treatment for severe sepsis with the drug hydroxyethyl starch can induce kidney failure and haemorrhages, which in the worst case can kill the patient.
Fresenius’ Philippine Dialysis Centres Slapped with Labour Violations
UNI Global Union | January 20, 2023
Complaints from the Congress of Independent Organizations (CIO PH) and the Fresenius Kidney Care Philippines Workers Solidarity Network about unsafe working conditions, lack of break time, unpaid wages and increased surveillance on employees prompted the inspections at eight facilities.
Germany: Dachau Clinic: "This care is dangerous"
Jessica Schober | Süddeutsche | May 13, 2022
Employees at the Helios Amper Clinic are complaining about scandalous conditions for patients and employees. The accusation: the sick were left without medication, hungry, unwashed and uncared for. The clinic management disagrees.
USA: FDA warns of potential toxic risk from Fresenius hemodialysis machines
Medical Design & Outsourcing | May 9, 2022
The FDA is evaluating the risk of exposure to toxic chemicals from silicone tubing used in Fresenius Medical Care (NYSE: FMS) hemodialysis machines.
Germany: Dividends through job cuts – the Fresenius principle
Marburger Bund | May 21, 2021
The medical group Fresenius continues to make high profits with its Helios clinics, promises shareholders a dividend increase of 5% and at the same time is cutting doctor's positions at many of its clinic locations in order to reduce personnel costs. (There have been almost yearly mass layoffs at Fresenius-run clinics in Germany.)
Fresenius Supervisory Board: Sharp criticism of the lack of diversity
Dachverband Kritischer Aktionäre | May 17, 2021
"Fresenius Medical Care has operations in 120 countries, 80 percent of its revenues come from the USA. A large proportion of the employees and patients there belong to ethnic minorities. But there is no sign of this on the Fresenius Supervisory Board..."
Germany: In Lower Saxony Helios clinics force employees to work "negative hours" - union offers sharp criticism
FOCUS Online | April 17, 2020
At Helios Kliniken in Salzgitter, Gifhorn and Helmstedt, the employees are now made to save up negative hours. According to a press release from the ver.di services union, plans for this have been submitted to the works councils.
Unions say Fresenius is in violation of Korean Labor Law
UNI Global Union | February 21, 2020
UNI Global Union Deputy General Secretary Alke Boessiger and UNI Global President Ruben Cortina called on the Korean government to take a hard look at the Korea National Pension Fund’s investments in the German healthcare company Fresenius...
USA: Alabama Fresenius Workers Ratify First Contract
RWDSU | April 29, 2019
“The healthcare workers at Fresenius had one goal in seeking a union contract, care for their patients – and they won, “Randy Hadley, President of the Mid-South Council of the RWDSU said.
Australia: Home dialysis patient takes on German medical giant Fresenius over equipment concerns
James Carmody | ABC News | December 16, 2016
Simone McMahon says Fresenius Medical Care, the sole provider of home dialysis services in WA, has failed to address her concerns about its equipment — something the company denies.
UK: Birmingham dialysis patients in protest over staff cuts
BBC | March 22, 2012
Private company Fresenius, has made 29 health care assistants redundant across the West Midlands. As a result, patient Ian Mead said: "Every night since they made these cuts we've all been getting onto the machines late."
Support the Fresenius Workers on Strike in Antalya, Turkey
MR Online | September 1, 2007
Their working conditions are very bad and male-dominated (patriarchal). For example: female workers are required to apply for permission to marry. Married women should get pregnant and give birth in accordance with the schedule arranged by the management.
Germany: "Divi-Gate": suspected fraud in hospitals still unsolved
MDR Aktuell | December 29, 2021
The Federal Audit Office even presented a report in June in which it supported the suspicion of fraud... Helios Kliniken in particular stands out: During the pandemic, almost 170 million euros flowed into the group’s 20 hospitals in central Germany, 31 million euros into the Helios hospital in Erfurt alone.
Germany: Gross grievances in the hospital? Nurses sound the alarm and "are at their limit"
Abendzeitung München | November 8, 2021
Sales are increasing, but at the Helios hospital in Pasing, employees report gross abuses. Everywhere, the hospital was focused on savings, sometimes even risking the lives of patients.
Germany: Berlin doctors and Helios Kliniken are fighting over jobs
Tagesspiegel | June 13, 2021
Does exaggerated “profit striving” endanger patients? Doctors accuse Helios of saving millions in cutting doctor jobs in hospitals after the pandemic.
Germany: Nienburg: No COVID-19 bonus from Helios
Katrin Köster | Kreiszeitung | June 11, 2021
They were applauded, praised and admired. But the ultimate consequence is missing: the financial recognition of the achievements of the employees of the Helios Niedersachsen hospitals, which, in addition to five others, also include the two houses in Nienburg and Stolzenau.
Germany: Helios Hospitals: Fewer doctors, higher profits
Götz Hamann and Karsten Polke-Majewski | Zeit Online | May 11, 2021
Helios, the largest private hospital chain in Germany, is cutting jobs for medical staff and at the same time making clever use of the COVID-19 state aid. What does that mean for patients?
Germany: Silent protest at the Helios Klinikum Pforzheim - applause does not pay rent
Die Neue Welle | December 18, 2020
"The protection of the population was important to the employees, which is why we put the negotiations on hold. However, while special COVID-19 payments are being made in other hospitals, the employer is simply holding us back here in Pforzheim. The employees are getting tired of it..."
New Report: Chilean Fresenius Workers Lack of Proper PPE While Treating High-Risk Patients
UNI Global Union | May 20, 2020
A new report by Chilean Fundación SOL finds that employees from various clinics owned by the German multinational Fresenius —which operates in Chile under the brand Nephorocare—are risking exposure to the coronavirus without proper personal protective equipment (PPE).
Note: Not a complete list.
Click here for the latest list.
OpenSecrets.org Profile of Fresenius Medical Care (subsidiary of Fresenius)
Union busting, tax avoidance, corruption: International trade unions sharply criticize Fresenius ahead of annual general meeting
IndustriALL | May 20, 2021
Trade unionists from around the world condemn poor working conditions at Fresenius and its international subsidiaries. The German DAX 30 company has long been in the spotlight for tax evasion and corruption.
German healthcare company Fresenius avoids taxes just like Amazon and Google
UNI Global Union | January 22, 2020
German healthcare giant Fresenius has avoided up to €2.9 billion in taxes worldwide through aggressive tax planning, according to a new report by the Centre for International Corporate Tax Accountability & Research (CICTAR) in cooperation with the European and global public service trade union federations EPSU & PSI and the Tax Justice Network.
Germany: Helios Kliniken in Mansfeld-Südharz are being restructured: What exactly does that mean?
Beate Thomashausen | Mitteldeutsche Zeitung | May 27, 2022
The news that there should be no more emergency room in Hettstedt afterwards was a bang.
Germany: The oldest hospital in Kassel is now in private hands
Mona Jablonski and Antonia Wolf | Die Dezentrale | September 27, 2021
At the beginning of September this year, the Fresenius healthcare group took over the financially troubled DRK Kliniken... Not only is the average workload demonstrably higher for private hospital operators, the pay is also significantly lower than for non-profit or public hospital operators.
UK: German company involved in talks to take over NHS hospitals
Randeep Ramesh | The Guardian | September 4, 2011
John Healey, Labour's health spokesman, called on Lib Dems to "join with Labour this week to put a stop to David Cameron's damaging plans for the NHS". He said it looked like there was "a well-worked secret plan for privatising hospitals".
Germany: Helios/Fresenius: Ver.di criticizes Fresenius plans
Ver.di | April 11, 2022
As the Fresenius health group is planning to sell part of the clinic operator Helios, ver.di criticizes the continued marketization of the healthcare system. "Care and health have become the plaything of short-term profit interests..."
Scandal-Hit NMC Health Sells Fertility Business to Fresenius
Archana Narayanan | Bloomberg News | December 21, 2020
Middle Eastern hospital operator NMC Health, which collapsed earlier this year after uncovering billions in hidden debt, agreed to sell its lucrative fertility business to German health-care company Fresenius SE.
Germany: Duisburg: Loud protest against clinic plans
RP Online | December 5, 2013
At 12 o'clock yesterday it got loud in front of the Helios Klinik St. Johannes in Hamborn. Many employees protested against Helios' plans to outsource around 100 employees to other companies.