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Friday, 25 May 2007

Lord Winston considers this imported blood products scandal "the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS".

Officials 'knew of Aids risk' in US blood imports - Telegraph


"Government advisers were aware that patients were in danger of contracting Aids from imported blood products as early as 1983 but decided against a ban due to fears of causing a shortage of supply.

The Committee on Safety of Medicines (CSM) knew that "patients who repeatedly receive blood clotting-factor concentrates appear to be at risk" of Aids.

It was also aware that the risks were highest if the blood products came "from the blood of homosexual and IV drug users in areas of high incidence - e.g. New York and California" and for those who repeatedly received high doses of the blood plasma products.

A possible link between Aids and blood transfusions was known about in December 1982, but it took another four years before safer, heat-treated products reached Britain. However, the CSM still ruled that the risk of contracting Aids had to be balanced against their "life-saving" benefits."

"Yesterday at the resumption of an inquiry into what the Labour peer, Lord Winston, has described as "the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS", victims and their relatives gave emotional accounts about living with HIV and/or hepatitis C.

Stephen Martin-Hanley, 37, who also has haemophilia, told the hearing that he felt the stress of him having HIV and hepatitis C status had killed his father. He said he was 13 years old when he was told he had been given HIV-contaminated treatment.

Reading a statement from his mother, after she became too emotional to read it herself, he said it was likely that his father, who administered his treatment, had given him the "fatal injection"."

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