The Irish government said that it will not sue the US pharmaceutical companies which were accused of providing HIV and hepatitis C contaminated blood and plasma products to more than 300 hemophiliacs.
Members of the hemophiliac society suffer from sporadic bleeding episodes that destroy joints and damage organs, requiring regular transfusions of blood-clotting products to survive. Tánaiste Mary Harney said that the government will not proceed with the case as it has received expert advice from the Irish attorney general that such a claim would not succeed. The Minister for Health said that although the Government acknowledges the terrible tragedy and wants to render all the help to the Irish Haemophilia Society. Statistics show that about 106 patients were infected with HIV and 221 patients with Hepatitis C.
But the Irish government said that money should be spent on improving the services to persons with haemophilia, including those infected with Hepatitis C and HIV rather than pursuing an inquiry against the pharmaceutical companies. The Irish Haemophilia Society on the other hand wants an enquiry in to this matter. It also claimed these US companies accepted and encouraged blood and plasma donations from high risk donors. Ms Harney mentioned that Armour Cutter Miles, Travenol-Baxter, Immuno International were the three US pharmaceutical companies which were accused in the scandal. Mr O'Mahony said that if legal action was taken in the States against these companies, and was successful then the Irish taxpayer could recoup all of the money spent on providing treatment, medical care and compensation.