British Group Urges Government to Compensate Hemophiliacs Who Contracted Hepatitis C Through Contaminated Blood Supply
The British Hemophilia Society on Tuesday urged the U.K. government to make $78.4 million available annually to compensate hemophiliacs who contracted hepatitis C through contaminated blood products, Reuters Health reports. According to a report prepared by the society, 95% of the nation's hemophiliacs were treated with contaminated blood products between 1969 and 1985, resulting in 2,829 cases of hepatitis C among hemophiliacs living in the United Kingdom today. The society said that compensation is needed because of the loss of income and difficulty obtaining insurance many hemophiliacs with the disease have experienced as a result of their progressive condition. Society CEO Karin Pappenheim called the widespread hepatitis C infection among hemophiliacs a "medical tragedy perhaps without parallel in the history of the [British] health service" and urged British officials to "look at the international precedents" set in Ireland and Canada for guidance in how best to compensate those who were infected. "The lives of thousands of people have been shattered by their infection with hepatitis C through contaminated blood products used by the National Health Service. By implementing this scheme, the government can at last provide some comfort for this small and unfortunate community," she said (Woodman, Reuters Health, 6/18).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.