Reuters Health Information (2007-12-24): Japan PM says wants to help all hepatitis patients
Japan PM says wants to help all hepatitis patients
Last Updated: 2007-12-24 9:48:18 -0400 (Reuters Health)
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's prime minister said on Sunday his party will draft legislation aimed at helping thousands of hepatitis patients, the latest development in a high-profile scandal that has drawn voter anger.
At least 10,000 people are believed to have contracted hepatitis C from tainted blood products, most notably fibrinogen used to stop haemorrhaging during surgery or childbirth. The drug was used in Japan even after it was withdrawn from the United States in 1977.
"Steps will be taken to provide aid to all the hepatitis sufferers," Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda told reporters.
On Thursday, hepatitis patients rejected a government compensation proposal.
The prime minister said he hoped to be able to present the bill during the current session of parliament.
A group of patients seeking compensation had sued the government and drug makers, but had rejected a settlement proposal by a regional court earlier this month, saying it would only provide aid to a limited number of sufferers.
The group has been calling on the Japanese government to make a political decision on the matter.