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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