Family Member of NHS Tainted Blood Scandal Victim Plans to Launch Legal Case

Wednesday 10th May 2017

Jason Evans, son of Jonathan Evans, victim of the most infamous and devastating treatment disaster in the history of the NHS, plans to launch a landmark negligence legal case against the UK Government amidst allegations that successive governments including the most recent have covered it up. Whilst compensation has been paid to victims, no government, health or pharmaceutical entity in the UK has admitted liability and not one penny has been paid to those affected.

With repeated calls for an inquiry into the tainted blood scandal being thwarted by government refusals, this case could be a landmark revelation into what happened and why it has not been investigated for over forty years, a scandal that has led to the deaths of over a thousand people and leaves over four and a half thousand with long term and terminal illnesses.

The causes of the scandal are to this day shrouded in mystery, however what is known is that in the 1970s and 1980s, the National Health Service was not self-sufficient in terms of sourcing blood and blood products, particular plasma. As a result, whilst the majority of whole blood was sourced in the UK, other blood products such as plasma were often sourced from the USA and other countries, particularly the blood clotting protein known as Factor VIII. Factor VIII was a vital protein to people suffering from haemophilia, as without the protein blood does not clot and as such cuts and other bleeding can become potentially very dangerous.

Much of these plasma products were created by a series of US pharmaceutical concerns, including Armour, Bayer, Hyland/Travenol and Immuno AG, but the primary distributor to the NHS was UK based BPL, of which the UK government had a 20% stake. All these companies, unaware or uncaring of the risks of contamination during the 1970s and early 1980s, would regularly source Factor VIII and other plasma products from huge numbers of donors per batch (up to 60,000 each batch), and only one of these had to be infected to contaminate a whole batch of plasma concentrate and infect everyone who received it.

There have been long running allegations that some of this blood was collected from prisoners in the state of Arkansas for an income, which was not tested for infection, ended up in the plasma pool and ended up infecting thousands of patients across the world, coming into the UK through the importing of concentrated Factor VIII.

What is more important is the lack of a substantial inquiry into the tainted blood scandal. Successive governments in Westminster have refused calls to investigate the scandal, and while an independent inquiry known as the Archer report in 2007 attempted to get to the bottom of the issue, but destroyed papers and documents from the period thwarted the report somewhat, with allegations being made that a cover-up had been enacted to suppress evidence of wrongdoing and negligence, and the fact that no real inroads have been made to have a full inquiry into the scandal has led to this lawsuit.

It is not surprising that a lawsuit is in the process of being filed on this case but it is shocking that a full investigation has not been undertaken, for the sake of the thousands of people who have suffered unimaginably and died unnecessarily, and that lessons can be learned to ensure a disaster on this scale never happens again.