Biologics are medical products manufactured from tissue such as bone, skin, arteries and ligaments harvested from cadavers. They are used in a wide range of procedures, from treating psoriasis and back pain to burns, knee and spinal surgery to dental implants.
The minibus was bound for Tutogen Medical GmbH, a processing facility owned by RTI Biologics of Alachua, Fla. A review of federal contracts shows RTI has supplied biologics to Department of Veterans Affairs and Defense Department hospitals around the world.
A report published in July by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists on the worldwide tissue trade included details on the Ukraine seizure, noting that some tissue found in the minibus was labeled “Tutogen: Made in Germany.”
A false German label found on tissue coming in from Ukraine raised the specter of questionable tissue and caused concern among authorities. Connections to RTI and its contracts with VA and Defense Department hospitals raise further questions to be answered within the military community.