Contaminated blood products: questions remain unanswered

Contaminated blood products in the 1970s and 1980s resulted in the infection of about 4800 haemophiliacs in Britain with hepatitis C and 1200 with HIV (of whom only 300 are still alive).

Blood was being donated by high-risk groups such as prisoners during the 1970s and 1980s - which appears to coincide with the period that people developed hepatitis C. Only transfusions after 1991 are deemed to be safe - England introduced heat treatment which killed hepatitis C in 1985, but that was not brought in in Scotland until the end of 1987. Even at that time, products taken from before this date were not withdrawn.

Papers released under the Freedom of Information Act show that doctors were aware people with haemophilia had developed hepatitis in the 1970s and were testing patients for the condition without their consent. The Evening news reports that doctors knew about the hepatitis issue in 1975, but it would be 15 years before patients were told they had hepatitis C: "Why has the Executive not released all the papers relating to this issue under the Freedom of Information Act?" is the question that is being asked.

Haemophilia: the ongoing scandal (Evening News, 17 April 2006)

See also: Lack of cash may have hit hepatitis C patient search (The Scotsman, 14 April 2006)