A Japanese court has ruled that the pharmaceutical companies and the state were responsible for transmitting hepatitis C through a contaminated medical product , and has awarded damages to nine people who had acquired the disease. The 13 plaintiffs who sued for damages were prescribed fibrinogen as well as other coagulants, between 1981 and 1988, made by the Green Cross Corp, a pharmaceutical that has closed down now.
The Osaka District Court on Wednesday, ordered the state and drug makers to pay a combined 256 million yen in damages to 9 of the 13 people who were infected after being treated with fibrinogen and other blood-clotting products. It was explained that fibrinogen was initially used very commonly to stop haemorrhaging during childbirth or surgery in the U.S. and Japan. The U.S. in 1977 had stopped using fibrinogen and issued warnings on its safety, but the Japanese regulators did not check the coagulant.
Toshitsugu Nakamoto the presiding judge had ruled that the drug maker, called then 'Green Cross Corp', was responsible for the nine who were infected after August 1985, as by then the risks became of the drugs had become known. He also had rejected damages for the four who unfortunately contracted the virus before the date. According to the ruling by the court, of the 13 people who were treated with fibrinogen and other blood-clotting drugs, five were awarded compensation from both the state and drug makers and four only from the drug makers.
The press report that this verdict marks the first time that a Japanese court has ruled in a series of lawsuits over the hepatitis C scandal.