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‘Contaminated blood ruined my family, we want a proper compensation scheme’

PUBLISHED: 07:36 10 October 2018

Tony Farrugia, outside St Botolph-without-Bishopsgate church where a book of rememberance has been placed for  haemophiliacs who have died because of treatment with contaminated blood products.

Tony Farrugia, outside St Botolph-without-Bishopsgate church where a book of rememberance has been placed for haemophiliacs who have died because of treatment with contaminated blood products.

Basit Mahmood

A son who lost his father and two uncles as a result of the contaminated blood scandal, has demanded the government establish a proper compensation scheme ahead of a public inquiry taking evidence next year.

Victor Farrugia was a victim of the scandal. Pic: Nigel SuttonVictor Farrugia was a victim of the scandal. Pic: Nigel Sutton

Tony Farrugia, 46, lost his father Barry Farrugia of Whitebarn Lane, Dagenham, aged just 37 in 1986 after he was infected with HIV via blood factor products used to treat his mild haemophilia.

Mr Farrugia also lost his uncles Victor and David to the scandal.

Victor Farrugia who lived in Brooks Avenue, East Ham, died aged 63 in 2002, after being diagnosed with Aids, whilst David Farrugia died of Hepatitis C in 2012 aged 69.

Mr Farrugia has campaigned for answers and compensation for his family and the government announced a public inquiry in July 2017.

Tony Farrugia, outside St Botolph-without-Bishopsgate church where a book of rememberance has been placed for  haemophiliacs who have died because of treatment with contaminated blood products.Tony Farrugia, outside St Botolph-without-Bishopsgate church where a book of rememberance has been placed for haemophiliacs who have died because of treatment with contaminated blood products.

Mr Farrugia said: “I am confident the inquiry team will get to the truth.”

He was sceptical whether all of the evidence regarding the scandal would ever come to light, worried that key pieces of evidence had been destroyed by civil servants to draw a line under the scandal.

The 46-year-old is convinced however that there is enough evidence available to show the government, drugs companies and health professionals were responsible for the scandal.

He said: “Whether the full truth will come out, I don’t know, this goes all the way up to politicians, ministers, civil servants, it goes much deeper.”

What is haemophilia?

Haemophilia is a rare condition that affects the blood’s ability to clot. It’s usually inherited, and most people who have it are male.

The main symptom is bleeding that doesn’t stop.

People with haemophilia may have:

nosebleeds that take a long time to stop

bleeding gums

bleeding from wounds that lasts a long time

skin that bruises easily

pain and stiffness around joints, such as elbows, because of bleeding inside the body

However he demanded that the government provide a full compensation scheme for those affected by the scandal including for the children of the families who have had to live with the consequences.

He said: “The funds that have already been set up work as a charity scheme, it’s belittling going through those schemes, we don’t want a scheme that is charitable, we want full compensation.”

Mr Farrugia also said he would like the inquiry to focus on the role of the pharmaceutical companies who supplied the contaminated blood products to the NHS, claiming that they had put profits above the health and safety of the patients.

He said: “The pharmaceutical companies played a key role in what went on.”

Mr Farrugia went into care in Luton following his father’s death, whilst his twin brother David went to a separate care home in North London.

The government issued an apology for the scandal during a three-day preliminary hearing that ended last week.

The inquiry will start hearing oral evidence in April 2019 and is expected to last take at least two-and-a-half years to complete.

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