Blood And Blood Product Safety And The Role Of Government

2642 words - 11 pages

One million people in the U.S. are living with HIV. 1 in 6 of those people are not aware that they are infected. About 8,000 hemophiliacs in the 1980s where infected with HIV and Hepatitis due to contaminated blood supplies. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the government, the National Hemophilia Foundation (NHF), and the companies distributing the medicine used to control the clotting of a hemophiliac’s blood knew that the factor was contaminated and sold it anyway for the money they would gain due to the high prices that these products were sold at. This violated human rights and the government, CDC, and FDA did not act responsibly to stop this epidemic from happening.
Hemophilia is a genetic disease, mostly affecting males. There are two types, Hemophilia A and Hemophilia B. When a person has Hemophilia A, they do not produce enough Factor VIII (factor eight), which is a clotting factor that clots cuts in a quick amount of time. In Hemophilia B, the person does not produce enough Factor IX (factor nine). Hemophilia A is the most common form. Due to this, it takes longer for a person affected by this disease to clot cuts so they do not continue to bleed. Depending on the levels of clotting factor in a person’s blood, it can take much longer for bruises and cuts to heal and internal bleeding is much more prevalent, especially in the joints. Sometimes the bleeds would damage their joints so badly they could not walk. Some bleeds can occur in the head, gut, or throat and can require immediate medical treatment. Even regular growth in boys who had hemophilia can rupture blood vessels and cause bleeds. Every time they had a bleed, it weakened the joints a little more, and if they stressed it too much it would begin to bleed again, thus rendering it weaker than before. Originally there was no effective medication; they would have to use whole blood which took a long time to transfuse and was not very effective in treating the bleeds. Children would have to go to the hospital very often, and most could not attend school, much less sports. Later, a scientist named Judith Graham Pool discovered cryoprecipitate in 1919, which help pave the path to creating clotting factor. Cryoprecipitate, or just “cryo” is prepared from frozen blood. It is made from blood plasma. However, it still wasn’t the most effective. It usually took up to 15 bags of cryo for one bleed and half a day to transfuse. It was also hard to produce, and wasn’t common in smaller hospitals, making it to where it had to be delivered from other hospitals which could take a while to procure. Later, researchers found a way to make factor concentrates, which were approved for pharmaceutical use in 1966. It is a powder, and it is mixed with saline for infusion. It does not require freezing, therefore much easier to self-administer at home. It prevented bleeds from happening and stopped bleeds before they could get bad. It allowed boys who had never...

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