In the late 1970s and early 1980s, 4,800 British haemophiliacs were infected with Hepatitis C through their NHS treatment. 1,200+ of those people were also infected with HIV, the virus that leads to AIDS.
Of those 1,200, more than 800 people have already died. Hundreds more have died from Hepatitis C.
170 non-haemophiliacs were also infected with HIV and countless infected with Hepatitis C through contaminated blood. Many of those people have also died.
People are still dying.
To this day, the British Government has steadfastly refused to hold a public inquiry into this tragedy. Against overwhelming evidence, no fault has ever been admitted by either Government or the pharmaceutical companies who supplied the contaminated blood products. Those living with these horrendous infections, those loved ones who have themselves become infected through victims of this disaster, and the families of those who have died, still have no answers.
This site is dedicated to the fight for justice.
Haemophilia is a genetic condition, most often hereditary, although in many cases the genetic abnormality occurs spontaneously. People with haemophilia lack, to varying degrees, the ability to clot their blood, which can result in internal bleeding into joints and muscles, and in more dangerous cases, into internal organs. This can result in severe pain and be quite debilitating, and sometimes more seriously it can result in organ damage and even death. Treatment for the conditon has historically included bed-rest, cooling the affected area, and latterly the replacement of the missing 'clotting factor' using donor blood products, such as plasma and cryoprecipitate.
During the late 1970s and early 1980s, haemophiliacs began using a revolutionary new product to treat their condition. 'Factor concentrates' were heralded as the way forward in haemophilia treatment, and profit-hungry pharmaceutical companies wasted little time in harvesting blood from the cheapest possible sources in order to make as much of the product as they could.
As haemophiliacs began using the products, it soon became apparent that something was wrong. People began dying. In their haste to push out as much factor VIII and IX as possible, the pharmaceutical companies had been sourcing donor blood from extremely dubious places. People known to be habitual drug users or those participating in homosexual activities, prostitutes, and other people with infectious diseases such as HIV and various strains of Hepatitis were routinely allowed, and in many cases paid, to give blood (see Kelly Duda's excellent film "Factor 8: The Arkansas Prison Blood Scandal" http://www.factor8movie.com/ and WorldNetDaily's articles here and here). The companies themselves would then pool the plasma together with hundreds of other donations, thus contaminating many thousands of units of factor concentrate. This product was then shipped around the world and given to thousands of haemophiliacs.
In Britain, more than 4,800 haemophiliacs were infected with Hepatitis C, and 1,200 of those with HIV. Many have already died from their infections. In the case of those given HIV, only 380 or so people are still alive.
Yet still the tragedy deepens, as the legacy of this disaster means that many spouses, partners and loved ones of those infected through blood have themselves become infected... many because people were not told that they had been infected until years after infection took place.
In 1991, under threat of court action for allowing knowingly contaminated blood products into the country, the British Government made ex-gratia payments to those infected with HIV, at an average of £60,000, upon the condition that haemophiliacs would sign an undertaking not to sue the Government for any future infection through their treatments. The so called 'compassionate payments' were made in respect of the projected life span of sufferers of three to five years, and were forced upon patients who were told that "if you don't drop the legal action and accept this money, no-one will get anything... people are dying, they need it". Shortly afterwards, it emerged that those same people were also infected with Hepatitis C, and that this information had been withheld from them until they had signed the undertaking. Many people did not find out about either infection until years after they occurred.
The Goverment and the pharmaceutical companies were banking upon none of their victims remaining alive long enough to fight for justice. The Government to this day refuses to hold a public inquiry into the events surrounding almost 2,000 deaths so far, and many more likely.