Tehran (IP) - The Leader of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, in a speech on Friday, January 8, while expressing distrust in the American and British vaccines for COVID, also expressed pessimism about France due to the "contaminated blood case."

Iran Press/Iran News: But what was the story of the French contaminated blood case that still lingers in the minds after years of a dark history of medical exports?

About three decades ago, Iranian blood products were imported from 'Institut Mérieux', now owned by the French company 'Sanofi Aventis'.

In 1985, Institut Mérieux sent HIV-contaminated blood coagulation factors for hemophiliacs in some countries, including Germany, Italy, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, and some others.

This caused many hemophilia and thalassemia patients who used these products as medicine to be contracted with the virus and die.

Especially in Iran, the first cases of HIV infection were seen due to the transfer of the contaminated French blood.

The French scandal over contaminated blood began in 1991 following the publication of an article by Dr. Anne-Marie Casteret in the French magazine L'Événement du jeudi.

In this article, Dr. Casteret revealed the sale and export of AIDS-infected blood products to hemophilia patients, and then published the book blood scandal (L'affaire du sang) in 1992, revealing the dimensions of this scandal.

There was no payment for blood donation in France, but it turned out that some drug addicts in Paris donated blood to get free sandwiches and coffee.

Lack of proper screening, lack of advanced methods for detecting and diagnosing blood-borne infections, as well as competition between manufacturers for faster production led to this great scandal in the French medical system during the premiership of Laurent Fabius.

Fabius was accused of canceling any formalities for testing blood samples, and the contaminated blood entered the market without going through the testing process. He ordered the screening when consignments of contaminated blood were dispatched.

According to statistics, in France alone, 4,700 patients with hemophilia were contracted AIDS through the transfusion of HIV-infected blood, of which 300 died.

By 1993, at least 1,800 Iranians were known to have contracted hepatitis and AIDS from French blood.

Following the discovery that the source of contamination of blood products in the case of hemophilia was foreign, Iran's Blood Transfusion Organization complained to the French company in 2008. Then the Ministry of Health and Medical Education and the presidential office for legal affairs entered the case.

By proving the French company's failure to produce a healthy product, other countries sought and received compensation from the company. But apparently, Iran is the only country that has not yet been able to receive compensation from Institut Mérieux, although the Iranian government compensated the patients of this case.

Now, years after this painful incident that led to the first outbreak of AIDS in Iran, France's dark history of transporting medical products is still troubling; as it undermines the trust in drugs and vaccines produced in this country also for coronavirus, which after a year continues to claim victims.

This is when Western countries are severely affected by COVID-19 and record the highest number of victims every day.


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