Wednesday, August 22, 2007

How did tainted blood from Arkansas prisoners enter the UK?

Last April, at the Abbey Garden on Great College Street in London, a British widow vented her frustration over a now-defunct state program in Arkansas that may have killed her husband.

She addressed Lord Archer of Sandwell, a former solicitor general, who is leading an independent inquiry into how 4,500 hemophilia patients in the UK were exposed to lethal viruses in blood products in the 1970s and '80s. Two thousand have since died of either Hepatitis C or HIV, in what has been called the worst disaster in the history of the nation's health service.

The widow, 47-year-old Carol Grayson, spoke calmly of the death of her husband, Peter Longstaff, two years ago. She explained that he was one of the patients who were treated with Factor 8, a blood-clotting product manufactured from human plasma.

Grayson and Longstaff had believed that his medicine was safe; that it had been derived from plasma collected in the U.K. from donors who were not paid.

They learned too late that it had been manufactured, not from plasma collected in their own country, but from persons in other parts of the world and that some of those sellers were, in fact, Arkansas prison inmates.

Read on. Via MeFi.