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Imported Blood Products

Volume 447: debated on Monday 5 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Health when her Department became aware of the higher risk of hepatitis C contamination from imported blood products; and if she will make a statement. (64128)

The issues around the risk of haemophilia patients acquiring infection with hepatitis C through contaminated blood products are complex. We understand that there has been concern that plasma imported from the United States may have carried a higher risk of transmitting hepatitis C. However, knowledge of the viral risks associated with both domestically produced and imported blood products evolved over time.

Blood products contain plasma pooled from many thousands of donors, and only one donation needs to carry the virus to infect the whole batch. Regardless of the source, or of the manufacturer of the plasma used, all products were potentially contaminated with the hepatitis C virus as a result of the need for pooling and the prevalence of the virus in blood donor populations around the world.