British Hepatitis C Patients Awarded Damages for Receiving Contaminated Blood Products
The British National Health Service could have to pay up to seven million pounds in a judgment awarded to individuals infected with hepatitis C from contaminated blood products, BBC News reports. The High Court ruled on Monday that 114 individuals, including children who contracted the virus while undergoing treatment for leukemia, in six test cases will receive between 10,000 and 210,000 pounds each and may be eligible for more compensation if they later become ill from the infection. Justice Burton will consider whether to grant the National Blood Authority and the Velindre NHS Trust, defendants in the case, the right to appeal on April 10. If an appeal is allowed, payment will be postponed pending the outcome. Hemophilia Society President Lord Morris of Manchester said, "This is a landmark judgment of huge importance to thousands of other people, in addition to those specifically in this case." The case was the first multiparty action to go to court under the Consumer Protection Act of 1987. In May the court will hear a second case involving 10 plaintiffs. Organizations responsible for the production and supply of blood products since March 1, 1988, are held responsible under the ruling. During the hearing, lawyers said all of the claimants "suffered" the "stigma" of having hepatitis C, which is "often confused" with HIV (BBC News, 3/26).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.