Iran court proceedings to start in blood scandal
TEHRAN, June 8 (Reuters) - Court proceedings will begin on Wednesday
in Iran's biggest blood contamination scandal affecting hundreds of haemophiliac
patients who received HIV-infected blood, the Iranian press said.
The blood scandal, which received widespread coverage on Tuesday in
the Iranian media, involves the French sale of HIV-infected blood to Iran
in 1994. Officials at the state Blood Transfusion Organisation have also
been accused of being criminally negligent in screening the blood.
"The case goes back to 1994 when a delegation from the International
Federation of Haemophiliacs inspected Iran's first blood processing laboratory
and recommended an updated system to screen contaminated blood," the
Tehran Times quoted head of Iran's Haemophiliac Association, Ahmad Qavidal
Qavidal said that proper systems to safeguard against contaminated blood
would also have been effective against Hepatitis C.
Qavidal said that Iran had purchased HIV-infected blood from a French
pharmaceutical company, which lead to the contamination of at least 187
patients with the AIDS virus.
The official also told the daily that he is seeking compensation from
the French firm. "About 10 other countries have received some sort
of compensation. These include virtually all the Middle Eastern countries
Qavidal also confirmed that he is suing the Blood Transfusion Organisation
for "procedural and bureaucratic violations."
Tehran Times quoted an official at the Blood Transfusion Organisation
as saying, "The organisation is complying with international standards
with respect to the safety of blood products."
Meanwhile the Khordad newspaper reported that hundreds of hemophiliac
patients and their families staged a rally on Monday in front of President
Mohammad Khatami's office to protest fiscal mismanagement of programmes