French Prosecutors to Appeal Dismissal of HIV-Contaminated Blood Bank Case
French Justice Minister Dominique Perben yesterday announced that the government will appeal a Paris court's decision last Thursday to dismiss a case against 30 doctors and government officials linked to the use of HIV-contaminated blood products in the mid-1980s, the Agence France-Presse reports (Agence France-Presse, 7/8). The lawsuit targeted doctors and officials with the Health Ministry for failing to remove blood products that contained HIV from the nation's blood supply. Nearly 4,000 people, mostly hemophiliacs, were infected with HIV before the blood products were removed from the health system, and hundreds of those who received the tainted blood products have since died of AIDS-related causes. The court did not publicly explain its reasoning for dismissing the case (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/5). The French Association of Hemophiliacs on Friday said the case raised "questions about ethics and the responsibility of public officials in our society" and "urged" prosecutors to appeal the dismissal of the case (Agence France-Presse/New York Times, 7/6). Perben said that prosecutors have decided to take the case to the Cour de Cassation, France's highest court of appeals, and added that he will meet today with victims and the families of people who died after receiving the contaminated blood products to explain the decision. "I'll tell them how much I understand the families' emotional reaction to this decision, and especially to the way it was made public," he said (Agence France-Presse, 7/8).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.