Infected Blood Inquiry

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Inquiry into Contaminated Blood

The taintedblood Timeline  -  what really happened...

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Magna Carta - 15th June, 1215

No of entries selected: 5 of 711
3 July
ACVSB Advocates Further Study of Stored Haemophiliac Sera
In the Third Meeting of the Advisory Committee on the Virological Safety of Blood (ACVSB) in July 1989, we learn that a high-powered Government advisory committee wished to study and collect data on haemophiliacs.

Under the heading "Non-A Non-B Hepatitis" we read about the "need for a prospective study of post transfusion NANB in blood recipients or stored sera from haemophiliacs." (see page 2 of PDF link below)

Further on in the minutes, we read in handwritten notes:

"Data on Haemophiliacs to go to Dr A Rejman" (see page 4 of PDF link below).
Please note that Dr A Rejman was a Departmental haematologist, DHSS Med SEB/B.

"The Chiron test had been used in first time recipients of Factor 8Y. Preliminary results had shown no positives, while most recipients of earlier concentrates were Chiron positive. Further study of stored haemophiliac sera was advocated." (see page 6 of PDF below).

Note: It is worth remembering that the new Chiron HCV assay was being used much earlier than we previously thought, since these ACVSB minutes record the use of the HCV test in July 1989 - which in terms of HCV testing was considerably early.

LEGAL NOTE: We should point out that this non-consensual Hepatitis C testing was advocated by a Government advisory committee at a time when English and Welsh haemophiliacs were litigating against the Department. These vulnerable patients were kept in the dark about their HCV status by both the Department of Health and their treating consultants. It goes without saying that this knowledge would have impacted upon their cases. This is an example of material non-disclosure by the defence.

Source: Link #1
Type: ACVSB Minutes
Location: UK
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2 August
SNBTS Secretively Tests 146 Haemophiliacs for HCV
By 2nd August 1989 the SNBTS had evaluated the Ortho-Chiron ELISA Hepatitis C test kits.

Since the rediscovery of the once-missing ACVSB minutes, we now know that the SNBTS conducted HCV testing on 146 Haemophiliacs in Glasgow. They found that 92 (63%) of these haemophiliacs were positive (and repeat reactive) for HCV as early as August 1989. (see page 10 of PDF source below.)

These clinical trials of the new HCV test were conducted almost certainly without the knowledge of the haemophiliac community and were also carried out at an inopportune time - whilst English and Welsh Haemophiliacs were involved in the HIV Civil Litigation against the Department of Health which had been filed 3 months earlier; back in April 1989. It is clear that this should never have happened during litigation because the information garnered from Scotland impacted on our case in relation to Whitehall and the fact that it was allowed to occur amounts to nothing less than a gross miscarriage of justice on behalf of Government.

Note: It never ceases to amaze us as to the level of the apparent deception and duplicity directed at us by Government. It is clear from the minutes of the ACVSB, a high-powered committee whose responsibility it was to advise Ministers and the CMO, that they were fully aware that haemophiliacs had tested positive for Hepatitis C from as early as August 1989. This was well over one year before the waivers emerged - meaning that people with haemophilia were prohibited from suing in respect of HCV. It is now widely believed that these waivers were illegal.

Source: Link #1
Type: ACVSB File, Vol 4. Section 5, Page 10
Location: Scotland
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9 October
HCDO - Haemophilia Centre Directors Organisation - HCV Testing
Haemophilia Centre Directors' Organisation conduct HCV Testing in October 1989:

In the minutes of the Twenty-First meeting of the Haemophilia Centre Directors (HCDO) held on Monday 9th October 1989, it is clear that one of the doctors present, Dr Mortimer of the PHLS, was:

"willing to accept samples for Hepatitis C (HCV) testing. The Working Party would be looking at HCV testing in haemophiliacs." (see page 10 of PDF below).

Note: We find this appalling, especially since the date of the minutes is so early, i.e. October 1989. Many haemophiliacs (including two of the authors of this Timeline) were not informed of their HCV status until as many as 3 years later. This was also an extremely sensitive time, since persons with haemophilia in England and Wales were at least 6 months into the HIV Haemophilia Civil Litigation which had begun in April 1989.

From these minutes, we can determine that there was a drive amongst the HCDO Haemophilia Consultants to garner samples of UK Haemophiliacs' blood for early HCV testing. The report of the Independent Inquiry, chaired by Lord Archer of Sandwell, was satisfied that some patients were subjected to tests without knowledge of their purpose and without their consent. It is our belief that results were deliberately withheld from patients until after the signing of the 1991 waivers.

Source: Link #1
Type: HCDO Minutes
Location: UK
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12 February
Haemophilia Centre Directors Discuss the HIV Litigation and HCV Testing Data
In the minutes of the Nineteenth Meeting of the AIDS Group of Haemophilia Centre Directors held at The Royal Free Hospital on 12th February 1990, a discussion takes place in relation to the ongoing Haemophilia HIV litigation and situation with HCV testing data. Dr Aronstam, of the Treloar Haemophilia Centre, Alton, is placed in a somewhat questionable position by his colleagues at this meeting.

"Dr Savidge raised the point that one member of the AIDS Group was acting as an expert on behalf of the Plaintiffs' and wondered whether it was acceptable for him to take part in the Group's discussions on Litigation and the Defence of the main statement of Claim. Dr Aronstam said he was the person referred to. He had not been asked to be a medical expert witness for the plaintiffs. If the group felt it was awkward for him to be present he would leave the meeting. He pointed out that some other directors were in a similar position and more might be in the future..."

"Dr Rejman said that the cases of Plaintiffs in the Wessex Region were being held back at present and would follow on after the lead cases had been considered. Dr Aronstam said he knew of at least two cases involving his patients which were going ahead as lead cases; it was news to him that Wessex cases were being put back."

"With regard to Health Authorities' Defence to the Re-amended Statement of Claim, Dr Savidge said that he had been using heat-treated Factor VIII as early as 1983 and he was trying to get the Defence's Statement amended as it said heat-treated factor VIII was not used until the end of 1984."

"Dr Lowe suggested that Dr Simpson's advice should be sought regarding the Haemophilia Society's request for information on hepatitis. Was hepatitis likely to be another item for which haemophiliacs would seek litigation and was it advisable for the Haemophilia Centre Directors to continue to collect data? Dr Simpson said it would not be advisable for the Directors to stop collecting data as they had already started to do so. Dr Hill pointed out that hepatitis was not a new thing; only the test was new. After further discussion, Dr Simpson agreed that the Haemophilia Society should not be given hepatitis data."

"Dr Lowe thought there was a difference between testing LFTs and testing for Hepatitis C and he wondered whether the patient's consent to testing should be sought… …Prof Bloom didn't see why permission needed to be asked for Hepatitis C tests as this was just another LFT. Dr Savidge said that patients were now becoming more and more conscious of what tests were, so he would advise caution at present."

Prof Preston quoted results presented at a recent meeting on prevalence of anti HCV in spouses of haemophiliacs. A figure of 20% was found which he thought was very worrying.

Note: The Joint Secretary of the 3 Defence Unions was present at this meeting, as was Dr A. Rejman, Senior Medical Officer (SMO), haematologist and DH Secretariat to the ACVSB.

Type: Penrose Evidence File
Location: UK
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Dr Christine Lee - ACVSB Submission Paper - HCV in Haemophiliacs
During the Sixth Meeting of the ACVSB in April 1990, Dr Christine A. Lee (now Professor) submitted a paper in which she revealed:

"The use of the Ortho Hepatitis C assay kit has confirmed anti-HCV seropositivity in all haemophiliacs with well documented NANB hepatitis." (See pages 44-45 of PDF link below)

"Between 1978 and 1983 there have been 50 haemophiliac studies, 31 of them prospective." "The majority of multi-transfused haemophiliacs are shown to be positive for HCV antibody."

Note: We find it quite scandalous that this paper should be submitted in April 1990 to the ACVSB, a government advisory committee - right in the middle of the proceedings of the HIV Haemophilia Litigation. We should also draw attention to the use of the "Ortho Hepatitis C assay kit", the new HCV test, which demonstrates that genuine HCV testing was being conducted.

Source: Link #1
Type: ACVSB Minutes
Location: UK
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