§ Mr. Cousins
To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether imported blood products are tested for hepatitis C; and what are the differences in testing procedures between imported blood products and fresh blood donations from British resident donors.
§ Mr. Freeman
[holding answer 10 January 1990]: As far as we are aware, at present there is no routine testing for hepatitis C carried out by the home authorities in any country from which blood products are imported to the UK. Such tests as are available are still being developed and evaluated.
It is a matter for the authorities in each country to decide on appropriate screening procedures for blood. These may vary according to the prevalence of certain infectious agents in the country of origin. The Department keeps testing procedures under review and recommends the introduction of new tests in the light of scientific and other developments.
Blood or plasma collected overseas for processing into blood products which are to be imported into the United Kingdom under United Kingdom product licence is subjected to such screening tests as are laid down by the home authority, as well as any that are required by our licensing authority—the Medicines Control Agency.