Infected Blood Inquiry

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Inquiry into Contaminated Blood

The taintedblood Timeline  -  what really happened...

"To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay, right or justice."
Magna Carta - 15th June, 1215

No of entries selected: 8 of 711
13 January
Lederman, Menitove & Desforges (NEJM)
A number of articles in the New England Journal of Medicine on Hemophiliacs and AIDS:

  • Lederman reports widespread immunity abnormalities, possibly linked to AIDS.
  • Menitove states that AIDS has a 40 per cent mortality, and reports widespread cell abnormalities.
  • Desforges recommends Cryoprecipitate rather than concentrate because of the risk of AIDS.
Source: Haemophiliac HIV Litigation, Advice on Settlement Document, Appendix 1, Chronology, pp 56-58.
Type: Articles: New England Journal of Medicine
Location: USA
First UK haemophiliac dies of AIDS
First UK haemophiliac dies of AIDS from US Factor VIII administered in December 1981.
Source: Haemophiliac HIV Litigation, Advice on Settlement Document, Appendix 1, Chronology, pp 56-58.
Type: Development
Location: UK
17 October
UKHCD - Early Knowledge of Risk of AIDS to Spouses of Haemophiliacs
In the notes of the 14th Meeting of the UK Haemophilia Centre Directors on 17th October 1983, it is clear that the Directors have early knowledge of the risk of AIDS to spouses of haemophiliac patients:

Under the heading "AIDS UK Situation" the following is stated:

"Spouses of patients who received FVIII will also be followed. Choice of control group for the above study not decided as yet but is considered critical to the study." (Page 1, circa line 21)

On page 4, under the heading "U.K. Situation", the minutes state:

"Twenty-two patients have N.I.H diagnostic criteria for AIDS - many through contact in USA. 10 patients have so far died. Details of haemophiliac cases (A1 and A4) are contained in Appendix B and the follow-up protocol is to be circulated in due course."

The following comment, made during the AIDS crisis also doesn't bode well:

"...Neither Dr Boulton, Dr Ludlam or myself considered it appropriate to discuss publicly the details of our current 'clinical trial' on heat treated FVIII" (Page 1)

Note: Rather than focussing on control groups and studies, it would have been prudent and more ethically sound to commence an immediate notification exercise with the imparting of advice to the spouses of patients with haemophilia.

Type: Notes of the 14th UKHCD Meeting, Oxford RHA. Dated 17th October 1983
Location: UK
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New England Journal of Medicine
A summary is published in the US of 18 cases of AIDS, the only risk factors involved are the receipt of blood components in the 5 years before the onset of the illness.
Source: Krever Commission Report (1997), Vol 3, Part IV, International Milestones: HIV and AIDS 1981-8.
Type: Published Summary (NEJM)
Location: USA
National Hemophilia Foundation / CDC
The National Hemophilia Foundation learns that the CDC has received reports of 9 new cases of AIDS among US hemophiliacs in the first quarter of 1984. The National Hemophilia Foundation again fails to recommend any change in treatment.
Source: Krever Commission Report (1997), Vol 3, Part IV, Chap. 27, page 771.
Type: CDC Statistics
Location: USA
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11 May
Christine A. Lee - Senior Registrar - Gross Understatement of Risk to Haemophiliacs
In a Haemophilia Society 'Haemofact' leaflet, May 1984 Release No. 3, Christine A. Lee, Senior Registrar at the Royal Free Haemophilia Centre, comments rather too conservatively on the occurrence of AIDS in UK haemophiliacs:

"The occurrence of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in haemophiliac patients has strongly suggested transmission of the disorder by blood products and epidemiological studies have suggested it may be related to a transmissible agent."

"In Great Britain the number of haemophiliacs who have been reported with AIDS remain at 2. Thus the incidence is less than 1 in 1,000 patients at risk."

Note: We are concerned to read that the incidence of AIDS in haemophiliacs was only described at 0.1%. Surely this was a gross misrepresentation of the risk from blood products? Christine A. Lee's comments on the risk suggests a misleading mindset as she seemed to think the total haemophilia community totalled 2,000. This could not possibly have been right - it should've been nearer 5,000. We have to wonder what statistical information this population figure was based on?

Background: The following list of developments detail what we believe Christine A. Lee should have considered before making the statement; (after all, the clues were there as to the real scale of the risk):

  • In January 1983, Desforges published an article in the NEJM on Hemophiliacs and AIDS, recommending that cryoprecipitate rather than concentrate be used.
  • In August 1983, the first UK haemophiliac dies of AIDS from US Factor VIII administered in December 1981.
  • Whilst in October 1983, in the UK, there were only 2 haemophiliac cases of AIDS, in the USA, however, there were 22 patients with N.I.H diagnostic criteria for AIDS and 10 patients had by that time died.
  • In January 1984, a summary was published in the NEJM of 18 US cases of AIDS where blood components were involved.
  • By April 1984, the National Hemophilia Foundation learned that the CDC had received reports of 9 new cases of AIDS among US haemophiliacs.

Note: We would like to point out that only 10 months later, (March 1985), the DHSS Finance Division (FA1), expresses fears that the haemophiliac population (around 5,000) could be very seriously affected indeed, with two-thirds possibly already sero-positive, and 240 haemophiliacs possibly manifesting AIDS within one year, and as many as 1,200 eventually developing AIDS.

Type: Haemophilia Society - HAEMOFACT - AIDS - Release No 3 - Dated 11th May 1984
Location: UK
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22 January
Kenneth Clarke - Naive Comment - Do We Need This & Heat-Treatment of Blood?
In an internal circular dated 22 January 1985, Kenneth Clarke makes the following disturbing comments:

"Before we all panic further, it is presumably the case that the ending of the collection of blood from homosexuals greatly reduces the risk from blood collected in this country?

Also, as only haemophiliacs have died and they may have had Factor VIII from American blood, is it the case that we have not had one AIDS fatality from blood donated in this country yet?"

'...only haemophiliacs...' What does he mean by this? Whatever he meant, only 6 weeks later we find distasteful comments from the DHSS Finance Division regarding the potential SAVINGS that could be generated when haemophiliacs died. (see related entries link below)

Kenneth Clarke, 22 January 1985: "Do we need this and heat treatment of the blood?"

Note: The extent of naivety in these comments should not surprise us. We only need to remind ourselves that this apparent lack of understanding emanates from a man who had already stated 13 months earlier (in October 1983) that as far as he knew no human blood plasma was imported into the United Kingdom by the NHS. What rubbish. There should have been no question in his mind as to whether blood products (as opposed to plasma) were being imported from the USA in 1983.

Note: Even more remarkably, in November 1983, Mr Kenneth Clarke (then Minister for Health) offers us further counsel without knowledge: "There is no conclusive evidence that (AIDS) is transmitted by blood products." He obviously wasn't paying attention to the Council of Europe Recommendations on coagulation factors and AIDS at the Lisbon meeting in May 1983. (see related entries link below for a plethora of proof.)

No wonder in recent correspondence (2007) with Taintedblood, Mr Kenneth Clarke unfortunately appears to be experiencing 'selective memory loss'.

Type: Kenneth Clarke Internal Circular. Dated 22 January 1985
Location: UK
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5 March
DHSS Disgraceful Comment - Doomed Haemophiliacs Will Generate Savings
In a DHSS Finance Division circular of 5 March 1985, we read of disturbing figures regarding the infections of UK haemophiliacs:

"If, however, your figures are right Britain's haemophiliac population, which I think is 5000, could be very seriously affected. You question whether the one-third sero-positive is accurate. The table below suggests what the implications of one-third sero-positive and two-thirds sero-positive would be:

One-third sero-positive Two-thirds sero-positive
Sero-positive 1,500 3,000
AIDS within one year 120 240
AIDS eventually 600 1,200

Frightening figures.

The Finance Division circular goes on to make the following utterly monstrous comment:

"Of course the maintenance of the life of a haemophiliac is itself EXPENSIVE, and I am very much afraid that those who are already doomed will generate SAVINGS which more than cover the COST of testing blood donations. At this stage I do not want to have your minute or mine copied outside Finance Division." [Quoted verbatim. DHSS Finance Division: FA1. Dated 5th March 1985.]

Note: We find it hard to believe that the DHSS dared to commit such a disgraceful comment to paper. It is disgusting beyond belief that whilst haemophiliacs are dying, the first thing going through the minds of the FINANCIERS is the MONEY that will be saved by the deaths of these 'EXPENSIVE' haemophiliacs and that such SAVINGS can be spent on blood screening.

The DHSS Finance Division should be ashamed of themselves.

Type: Circular DHSS Finance Division FA1. Dated 5th March 1985.
Location: UK
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