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Contaminated Blood Products

Volume 281: debated on Tuesday 16 July 1996

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 8 July, Official Report, column 21, what actions the Government have taken to encourage (a) research and (b) best treatment for those haemophiliacs infected with hepatitis C through NHS treatment with contaminated blood products. [37081]

I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 15 July. An additional £1 million has been made available by the Department's research and development division to fund research into improving our understanding to the prevalence, transmission and natural history of hepatitis C virus infection.The national health service standing group on health technology has identified the evaluation of the use of alpha interferon in the treatment of hepatitis C virus infection as a top priority for research. This is being actively taken forward by the Medical Research Council. A trial development group has met with researchers to help them in the design of a clinical trial. It is intended that patients with haemophilia will be invited to enter the trial. The Medical Research Council is also funding a three-year study to investigate the course and complications of hepatitis C virus-induced liver disease in a group of infected haemophilia patients.In addition, the Department is giving grant support to voluntary organisations working with those infected with hepatitis C.