Press Release

Report of the Irish Medicines Board to the Minister for Health and Children on the Irish Blood Transfusion Service for the year 2004

The Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney T.D. today (7 December 2005) published the report of the Irish Medicines Board (IMB) on the Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) for the year ending 31st December 2004, as required by the Report of the Finlay Tribunal of Inquiry.

The Report is generally positive in recognising the improvements made by the IBTS over the year and concludes that inspections carried out in 2004 revealed continued improvement in compliance with Good Manufacturing Practice.

The Tánaiste said “I welcome the positive elements of this Report which confirm that the redevelopment programme at the IBTS is achieving results which are recognised by the independent regulator. I wish to acknowledge the significant effort involved by the Service and its staff in managing new projects as well as overseeing an ongoing re-organisation and redevelopment programme.”

The report noted that during 2004 both the IMB and the IBTS monitored developments relating to variant Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (vCJD) and the potential for its transmission via blood transfusion. The IBTS has been investigating methods of reducing the potential risks posed by vCJD to the blood supply in Ireland. Measures aimed at minimizing the risk of transmission are kept under regular review.

The National Haemovigilance Office (NHO) at the IBTS liaised closely with the IMB during 2004. Regular meetings were held and the IMB was satisfied with the development of the role of the NHO. The NHO was considered to be well established in its role of collecting, collating and assessing reports of haemovigilance events.

The Tánaiste said that her Department would continue to work with the IBTS and support its redevelopment programme. “I welcome the progress reported for 2004, and I have been assured by the IBTS that further significant progress has been made since then.”