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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 August 1 - 21  > Court orders state and drug makers to compensate drug-induced hepatitis C patients
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2007 August 1 - 21 [POLITICS]

Court orders state and drug makers to compensate drug-induced hepatitis C patients

August 1, 2007
The Nagoya District Court on July 31 ordered the state and three pharmaceutical companies to pay a total of 132 million yen in compensation to eight plaintiff patients who became infected with hepatitis C after virus-tainted blood products, such as fibrinogen preparations, were administered.

This was the fourth court ruling that held the state and the drug makers responsible for the infections, but this ruling recognized government responsibilities more broadly than the three preceding rulings.

The recent ruling, for instance, for the first time recognized the state responsibility for the infections through chrismassin, a blood product for which among the preceding rulings, only the Tokyo district court recognized the drug maker’s responsibility.

Presiding Judge Matsunami Shigeo said, “The maker should have clearly warned in the attached explanation about the risk of hepatitis C infection in order to prevent patients from being given the product to secure their safety,” and pointed out that the government was obliged to instruct makers to post such a warning.

The ruling dismissed the claim of one of the nine plaintiffs on the grounds that the patient might have been infected with hepatitis C through blood transfusions.

The drug-induced hepatitis national plaintiffs’ group and their legal team on the same day issued a statement demanding that the government and the drug companies immediately apologize to all victims and begin consultations with them with the aim of establishing overall settlements.

Plaintiff Kaneda Kazuko, 54, made a V-sign to supporters with tears in her eyes in a rally held in front of the district court.

She was given fibrinogen during an operation in September 1986. A month later, her condition suddenly got worse. She experienced loss of consciousness and narrowly escaped with her life. Two weeks later, after she recovered consciousness, her doctor explained that she became infected with hepatitis which is incurable. In December 2003, she decided to join the lawsuit because she wanted to know the cause of why she is suffering from the illness.

She said, “We just received medications that the government had approved.”
- Akahata, August 1, 2007
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