Officials at the Department of Health knew that people were falling ill with hepatitis from contaminated blood products in the early 1970s but allowed the infected treatments to remain in use, documents have suggested.
Doctors told officials that patients given certain blood products, including the tainted Factor VIII from the US, had contracted hepatitis.
But successive governments allowed Factor VIII to be used for at least another 11 years, allowing the contaminated blood scandal to continue.
One doctor even warned of a hepatitis ‘epidemic’ among those who received the US-imported blood.
Nearly 3,000 have since died and none of the survivors nor families of the dead has received compensation.
Tomorrow a public inquiry into the scandal will resume in London with more than 40 victims and relatives giving evidence.
The minutes from the 1974 meeting, held in Oxford by the Oxford Haemophilia Centre, were obtained via a Freedom of Information request by Jason Evans, whose father died after being infected with HIV and hepatitis C.
They show that attendees included Sheila Waiter, a senior medical officer from the Department of Health, and Jean Grant from the NHS Blood Transfusion Service.
One doctor, identified as Dr Craske from Poole Hospital in Dorset, spoke of an ‘epidemic of hepatitis A and B’ in patients in Bournemouth.