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Monday, 20 March, 2000, 10:20 GMT
Hepatitis C victim 'denied treatment'
Patricia Greed contracted Hepatitis C from contaminated blood
A woman who contracted Hepatitis C following a contaminated blood transfusion says she has been denied treatment by the Health Authority she holds responsible.

Patricia Greed was given the contaminated blood during a hip replacement operation in 1981 at a hospital at Winford, near Bristol, which has now closed.

"I'm told there are plenty of other health authorities which fund the treatment so I'm just a victim of where I live.

Patricia Greed
Avon Health Authority said it could not yet afford one of the drugs Mrs Greed said she needed.

Mrs Greed, 49, only found out she has Hepatitis C, a potentially fatal liver disease, when she went for a second hip operation in 1995.

She said specialists have recommended a new drug therapy which they have told her would have up to a 75% chance of curing her.

The drugs were her only hope of not having to rely on a transplant if her liver fails, she added.

But Mrs Greed said the Avon Health Authority would not fund the Ribavirin-Interferon treatment.

She said she was astonished to find the drugs were on the list of treatments the authority will not fund because of the cost and it was particularly galling as it was the same health authority which ran the hospital where she was infected.

"I was just amazed when I found out," said Mrs Greed. "I'm told there are plenty of other health authorities which fund the treatment so I'm just a victim of where I live.

"I'm told the authority won't fund the drugs on grounds of cost, but if I had to have a transplant it would cost 75,000."


Mrs Greed, who is married but has no children, said she believed her condition has already blighted her chances of fostering or adopting.

Health authority spokeswoman Vicky O'Loughlin said Mrs Greed contracted Hepatitis C before tests were developed to check for the disease.

She said the authority did not yet give out Ribavirin because it was licensed in the middle of the current financial year and it had no spare money to spend on it.

"It's something we are looking at, but we are looking at many other things," she said.

The other drug, Interferon, is made available by the health authority.

Christopher Buckler, chief executive of the British Liver Trust, said: "This is a dilemma for patients because combination therapy was recently licensed in the UK and it is partly successful - 40% of people respond well to it - but there are funding problems in the health service.

"From the patient point of view it is very unsatisfactory. We are doing everything we can to try and improve the situation."

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10 Nov 99 | Health
Drug users spread virus
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