Haemophiliacs infected with HIV and Hepatitis C consider litigation in England and Wales

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A large number of haemophiliacs from England and Wales who were provided with contaminated blood products are considering litigation in the English and Welsh Courts against a number of American Corporations which manufactured blood products known as Factor VIII and Factor IX.

It is alleged that these corporations sold these products to haemophiliacs and health authorities worldwide despite knowledge that the products were manufactured from sick, high risk donors and/or known to be contaminated with the viruses that cause AIDS and Hepatitis C. For instance, there is evidence that various Corporations continued using plasma taken from high risk prison donors, including prisoners from the notorious Angola prison in Louisiana.

There is further evidence to suggest that the corporations continued selling these products abroad even after they were no longer being issued in the United States due to known risk of AIDS and Hepatitis C transmission.

It is thought that the Corporation's contaminated blood products have infected at least 5,000 European haemophiliacs with HIV, of which more than 2,000 have already developed HIV and over 1,000 have died from the disease. As well as damaging and shortening the lives of the haemophiliacs themselves families and spouses have also been affected. Many infected haemophiliacs unknowingly transmitted HIV and/or Hepatitis C to their spouses, and in some cases infected mothers have transmitted HIV to their children during pregnancy. Other haemophiliacs have foregone having children, or mothers have aborted pregnancies, for fear of transmitting the disease to their children or of being unable to care for them.

Litigation was initially pursued in the US Courts with more than 200 English and Welsh claimants filing claims, but the Corporations asked the US Courts to be dismiss the claims on the grounds that it was inappropriate for them to pursue a claim in the US when their own Courts provided a suitable venue. The Corporations succeeded and Judge Grady, sitting in District Court of Illinois dismissed all UK-based claims from the US Courts.

Irwin Mitchell Solicitors have been working closely with the US firm leading the litigation and have now been instructed to act on behalf of a number of people.

then please do not hesitate to contact either Gary Walker or Sallie Booth of our Group Action team for further details. 0370 1500 100.