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HOME  > Past issues  > 2007 December 19 - 2008 January 8  > Government to provide uniform relief to all drug-induced hepatitis C victims
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2007 December 19 - 2008 January 8 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Government to provide uniform relief to all drug-induced hepatitis C victims

December 24 & 25, 2007
Prime Minister Fukuda Yasuo on December 23 announced that the ruling bloc will enact as early as possible, in cooperation with opposition parties, a bill introduced by Dietmembers to provide all drug-induced hepatitis C victims with uniform relief.

The Fukuda government’s earlier stance of narrowly limiting state responsibility for the use of tainted-blood products provoked strong public criticism as a policy of abandoning victims, forcing Fukuda to retract it.

The prime minister, however, stopped short of answering a reporter’s question asking whether the government will admit its responsibility for the drug-induced disease from the beginning of the production of such blood products.

On the following day, plaintiffs in drug-induced hepatitis C lawsuits across the country met in Tokyo. After discussing with their legal teams about their response, they adopted an opinion requesting that the relief law indicate state responsibility and include an apology for the outbreak of drug-induced hepatitis.

“Only when the state responsibility for the infection is clearly admitted will drug-induced diseases be eradicated,” stated Yamaguchi Michiko, representative of the plaintiffs’ group, at a news conference after the meeting.

They claimed that the new law must acknowledge the state responsibility for the outbreak of hepatitis C caused by the government-authorized drugs, uniformly pay all victims settlement money and give relief to them, and apologize for causing the sufferings.

They also demanded that the government take measures to institute an appropriate medical system and give allowances for victims’ medical expenses so that they may live without anxieties. Furthermore, they proposed that a third party body be established to conduct investigations to uncover the truth in order to prevent drug-induced disasters.

Japanese Communist Party Diet Policy Commission Chair Kokuta Keiji on December 23 said, “Concerning the relief law, we stress the need to clarify the responsibilities of the government and pharmaceutical companies and will make efforts to achieve uniform relief as demanded by plaintiffs and victims in compensation.”
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