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Reuters Health Information (2004-01-23): UK hepatitis C victims awarded up to 45,000 pounds


UK hepatitis C victims awarded up to 45,000 pounds

Last Updated: 2004-01-23 12:27:36 -0400 (Reuters Health)

LONDON (Agence de Presse de Medicale for Reuters Health) - Thousands of Britons infected with hepatitis C as a result of contaminated blood products and transfusions are to receive compensation of up to 45,000 pounds, the Department of Health confirmed on Friday.

Giving details of a no-fault compensation scheme first announced last year, the ministry said anyone alive on 29 August 2003 whose infection was attributable to NHS treatment with blood or blood products before September 1991 would be eligible.

Initial lump sum payments of 20,000 pounds would be paid for hepatitis C infection while people developing cirrhosis, or liver cancer, or who had undergone a liver transplant, would get a further 25,000 pounds.

People who contracted hepatitis C through someone infected with the disease would also qualify for payment, the ministry added in a statement.

It said medical experts were developing a protocol that would enable the existence of cirrhosis to be assessed using only existing biopsy data or the results of non-invasive tests.

It would be presumed that haemophiliacs who had developed hepatitis C after being treated with Factor VIII or Factor IX blood clotting factor concentrates were infected as a result of that treatment.

Health Secretary John Reid said: "I believe that these are fair and reasonable payments and I hope that they will help alleviate some of the problems people who have been affected in this way are experiencing."

A publicity campaign is planned to ensure that the estimated 3000 to 5000 eligible claimants apply for compensation.

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