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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 January 9 - 15  > Bill to relieve drug-induced hepatitis patients passed
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2008 January 9 - 15 [POLITICS]

Bill to relieve drug-induced hepatitis patients passed

January 12, 2008
The House of Representatives in its plenary session on January 8 unanimously passed a bill to provide drug-induced hepatitis C patients with uniform relief.

In a Lower House Health Committee meeting held earlier in the day, the bill which the ruling block initially submitted to the Diet was changed into one proposed by the committee chair and approved by a unanimous vote.

The bill’s preamble confirms the responsibility of the state for the outbreak and spread of the drug-induced disease and requires the government to apologize to the victims.

It prescribes that a fund using contributions from the government and pharmaceutical companies responsible for the infection will be established in order to make lump sum payments that will vary in amount in accordance with patients’ conditions.

The bill also calls for efforts to build a system to provide appropriate medical care to hepatitis patients as well as to promote research so that patients can live without undue anxieties.

The House of Representatives also unanimously adopted a resolution calling on the government to extend the coverage of the relief measures. The resolution pointed out the need for an early adoption of relief measures for the estimated 3.5 million patients infected with hepatitis C and B, such as subsidizing their medical expenses.

Yamaguchi Michiko, representative of the nationwide plaintiffs’ group in drug-induced hepatitis lawsuits, said, “It has been a long way. Outbreaks of drug-induced diseases have repeatedly occurred. I want the government and drug makers to never allow such disasters to occur again.” - Akahata, January 9, 2008

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The bill was also unanimously passed through the House of Councilors in its January 11 plenary session and became law. 
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