Press Release

HIV Compensation scheme for persons with haemophilia

Mr Micheál Martin T.D., Minister for Health and Children, today reiterated the Government´s commitment to the enactment of legislation to ensure that persons with haemophilia who have been infected with HIV, and their dependents, can be compensated by the Compensation Tribunal.

Detailed discussions have taken place between Department officials and representatives of the Irish Haemophilia Society, and the respective legal advisers. The discussions have concentrated on areas where the Society considers that special circumstances apply to HIV-infected haemophiliacs as distinct from those persons infected with Hepatitis C. These areas include: the status of the payments made to HIV-infected haemophiliacs in 1991, the compensation already paid to HIV-infected haemophiliacs by a number of pharmaceutical companies, the ongoing litigation between a number of haemophiliacs and the pharmaceutical companies, and the inclusion of a number of new categories of claimant.

The Minister said that, while he is fully aware of the importance of this issue to the Society and its members, he must also have regard to the position of persons infected with Hepatitis C who have been or who will be claimants before the Compensation Tribunal.

The amendment of the 1997 Act is a major priority for the Minister, and it is included in the legislative programme for the current Dáil session. The Department, in association with the Attorney General’s Office and the Department of Finance, is currently finalising proposals for submission to Government shortly.