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Patients sue over HIV infection

THREE hemophiliacs in southern China, who claim they have contracted the HIV virus from a blood product, have launched a 6 million yuan (US$878,376) compensation battle in three separate lawsuits.

The patients said they were infected with the HIV virus after using factor VIII, a blood product for hemophilia made by Shanghai Institute of Biological Products.

Chancheng District People's Court in Guangdong Province's Foshan City had accepted the lawsuits, the Southern Metropolis Daily reported yesterday.

SIBP, part of China National Biotec Corporation, is a large state-owned enterprise specializing in the research and development, production and marketing of biological products.

According to Ministry of Health regulations, SIBP stopped producing factor VIII in 1995 due to health fears.

But it did not stop selling the product until 1996, said Zhao Wei, father of one of the Foshan patients.

The three Foshan patients had used factor VIII from 1990 to 1996, the newspaper report said. They were diagnosed with HIV and hepatitis C virus from 2001 to 2005.

Though they have received 100,000 yuan each in financial aid from SIBP, they said the amount was not enough to cover their high medical costs.

They demanded the same compensation package given to Shanghai patients, who receive a monthly living allowance of 1,000 yuan to 3,000 yuan and free medical treatment, on top of the 100,000 yuan already provided, the report said.

Zhao said his son had entered the active period of the infected disease and it cost 200,000 yuan each year for treatment.

He said an SIBP official told him that 50,000-plus patients had used SIBP's factor VIII and more than 300 of them had contracted HIV nationwide.

Earlier reports said some farmers in Henan Province were infected with HIV in the blood donation process because of poor equipment and management. Contaminated supplies were unwittingly taken on by drug makers and then the related blood products were distributed nationwide.


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