Saudi patients in contaminated medicine claim

Haemophilia patients say they have contracted hepatitis after treatment at gov't hospital
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)
By Courtney Trenwith
Wed 17 Apr 2013 09:23 AM

Haemophilia patients in Saudi Arabia claim they have contracted hepatitis after being given contaminated medicine at a government hospital.

The patients, who suffer the genetic disorder that makes them susceptible to blood clotting, are dependent on intravenous medication supplied via the public health system.

However, a shortage of the expensive medicine in the Kingdom means it is often mixed with donated blood, putting haemophilia patients at greater risk of infection and contracting a transmitted disease.

In Western countries, it is completely manufactured from non-human ingredients.

About one in three haemophilic patients at Al-Qatif Central Hospital in Saudi Arabia has contracted hepatitis, according to the Saudi Gazette.

Muhammad Al-Subaikhi, 28, told the newspaper he contracted Hepatitis C in 2010 while under treatment at Al-Qatif Central Hospital, but he risked losing his leg if he did not receive the medication.

Hussein Maghees said he contracted Hepatitis C because the medication he received at the hospital was infected with the virus.

He claimed shortages also increased the chances of contracting a transmitted disease because patients had to undergo treatment more regularly.

“Sometimes, the hospital runs out of hemophilia medication for three weeks. If the medication arrives, a patient is given small doses that could help him get by for a week only,” he said. “This means that patients have to return to the hospital after a week to take another dose.”

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