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Self-sufficiency in blood products in England and Wales: A chronology from 1973 to 1991

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    Department of Health
  • Published date:
    27 February 2006
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About 3000 haemophilia patients treated with blood products in the 1970s and early 1980s were infected with hepatitis C (HCV), and many with HIV. A number of MPs suggested that this might have been avoided had the UK achieved self-sufficiency in blood products, a policy the Government initiated in 1975. This report is the result of a review of surviving documents from 1973 (when a decision was made to pursue self-sufficiency for England and Wales) to 1991 (when a validated screening test for HCV was introduced in the UK).

The report contains a chronology of events and an analysis of the key issues, including:

  • the developing understanding of the seriousness of Non A Non B hepatitis (NANBH), later known as HCV
  • the evolving understanding of the viral risks associated with pooled blood products, both domestically produced and imported, and how this influenced policy
  • the development of policy on UK self-sufficiency in blood products, the factors that influenced it, and the reasons why it was never achieved
  • the developing technologies to enable viral inactivation of blood products and the timing of their introduction in the UK; the ability of the Blood Products Laboratory (BPL) to produce the volumes of products required.

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