Contaminated Blood Products and Class Action Lawsuits
While blood products can be life-saving tools for those with a variety of serious conditions, contamination of these products can pose serious, life-threatening risks. Here, the class action attorneys at The Law Offices of Peter Angelos discuss contaminated blood products and the legal recourse available to those who may be affected by them.
An Overview of Blood Products
Blood products are any therapeutic substances made from or with human blood, including whole blood, blood components and plasma derivatives. Blood components include red cells, white cells, platelets and plasma. Blood products may be used during a wide range of procedures and as a treatment for a variety of conditions including hemophilia, anemia, leukemia and more.
Safety Protocols for Blood Products
The Center for Disease Control (CDC), along with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), blood centers and hospitals, are all responsible for ensuring the U.S. blood supply is safe and maintained at the highest levels of quality and purity. Because human blood can carry a host of bacteria, viruses, prions and parasites, blood donors are carefully screened, and the blood supply is rigorously tested to help mitigate the risk of contamination. Some of the pathogens blood donations are tested for include bacterial contamination, HIV, Hepatitis B & C, HTLV, syphilis and West Nile Virus. Donors who have an increased risk of providing a contaminated blood sample are not permitted to donate blood; however, there have been instances throughout U.S. history where, due to failures in protocol and screening procedure, contaminated blood products have made their way into the U.S. blood supply.
The History of Contaminated Blood Products
While many states have laws that shield blood products from traditional product liability claims, class action lawsuits have been filed against blood product manufacturers who allegedly sold blood products that had not been adequately tested for HIV. In the mid-to-late 1980s, it was claimed that Bayer and Baxter corporations had distributed contaminated blood products in Asian and Latin American markets, even after the blood products were removed from the U.S. market due to improper screening for HIV. The suit also alleged that these companies purchased blood from high risk donors, including individuals who were incarcerated, injecting drug users and homosexual men engaging in unsafe sexual practices. As recently as 2011, Bayer has admitted to paying “tens of millions” to individuals in the U.S. and other countries infected by contaminated blood products. In 1997, Bayer also paid $300 million into a compensation fund for hemophiliacs infected with HIV.
Contact the Class Action Attorneys at The Law Offices of Peter Angelos if You Have Been Harmed by a Blood Product
Blood products that have not been screened to the highest federal standards, or that have been sourced from high-risk donors, increase the likelihood of patients contracting serious and sometimes fatal diseases. Fortunately, legal precedent shows that those who have been harmed by contaminated blood products may seek legal remuneration. If you or a loved one relies on blood products and has developed a condition that may be caused by contaminated blood, contact the class action attorneys at The Law Offices of Peter Angelos today for a no-fee consultation.