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"Up Close - Bad Blood" documentary about contaminated blood scandal features interview with Prof Anne-Maree Farrell

Sun 28 February 2021

Prof Anne-Maree Farrell

In an interview with ITV/UTV for their documentary into the contaminated blood scandal in Northern Ireland and the UK, Professor Anne-Maree Farrell explains how she believes a crucial window to stop increased infection may have been missed.

"Up Close - Bad Blood" investigates the scandal that saw patients dying after receiving contaminated blood in the 1970’s and 1980’s, and questions what the government and NHS knew and when.

The Contaminated Blood Scandal in the United Kingdom arose when at least 3,891 people, most of whom suffered from haemophilia, became infected with hepatitis C of whom 1,243 were also infected with HIV, as a result of receiving contaminated clotting factor products supplied by the NHS.

Anne-Maree Farrell, Professor of Medical Jurisprudence at Edinburgh Law School, has studied and written extensively about this period and highlights oversights made during this time. With the first report of a UK person with hemophilia contacting AIDS in the first half of 1983, Professor Farrell explains in her interview that "the writing was on the wall", giving her her view that "there was a risk that should have been disclosed to people with hemophilia, certainly by 1983."

The interview drew on Prof Anne-Maree Farrell's research expertise in blood policy and regulation, as well as her legal practitioner experience in running contaminated blood litigation. The footage also makes reference to her book, 'The Politics of Blood: Ethics, Innovation and the Regulation of Risk' (Cambridge University Press, 2012), which explores how best to manage risk involving multi-valued human biological materials.

The documentary aired on Thursday 25 February 2021, and is available to watch online: