HC Deb 11 June 2002 vol 386 cc1212-3W
Brian Cotter

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will instigate an investigation into the change of treatment for haemophilia patients in the 1970s from a cryoprecipitate treatment originating from a single donor to an unheated treatment derived from large donor pools; [56024]

(2) what plans he has had to hold a public inquiry into how haemophiliac patients in the 1980s contracted hepatitis C and the HIV virus. [56026]

Ms Blears

There are no plans to hold a public inquiry or to investigate haemophilia treatment practices in the 1970s.

We understand that treatment with cryoprecipitate carried a number of disadvantages compared to pooled clotting factors. It required the patient to be treated in hospital, it could not be given to children, it was unsterilised and carried the risk of a number of side effects.

Pooled plasma products did not carry these disadvantages and were therefore keenly received by patients and clinicians. It was not until the mid to late 1980s that the risks from hepatitis C were fully understood by which time viral inactivation of pooled plasma products had been introduced.

Mr. Heald

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 14 May 2002 to the hon. Member for Falkirk East (Mr. Connarty),Official Report, column 618W, on haemophilia, if he will make a statement on the length of time the Government are taking to make a decision on whether to make recombinant clotting factors available to all haemophiliacs. [58848]

Ms Blears

We have nothing further to add to our earlier response. We are still considering the provision of recombinant clotting factors for all haemophilia patients in England and will make a decision later this year.