All the plaintiffs in a hepatitis C infection suit decided Sunday to appeal against a court ruling ordering the state and two pharmaceutical companies to pay damages to only some of them.

The decision was made at a meeting of the plaintiffs and their lawyers in Tokyo.

“All the plaintiffs are united. All of us are determined to fight until the issue of hepatitis infection stemming from tainted blood products is resolved,” Michiko Yamaguchi, one of the 18 plaintiffs, told reporters after the meeting.

The Fukuoka District Court ordered the state and the drug companies on Aug. 30 to pay a combined 168 million yen in damages to 11 of the 18 plaintiffs who contracted the virus after being treated with tainted blood products in the 1970s and 1980s.

The state has already appealed the ruling.

Presiding Judge Keiji Suda said in the ruling the state failed to implement necessary regulations against infection by as late as November 1980, when the risk of a blood product fibrinogen was confirmed, and that the two drugmakers — Mitsubishi Pharma Corp. and its subsidiary Benesis Corp. — are also responsible for the infections.

The 18 plaintiffs sought 1.17 billion yen in total, saying they were treated with fibrinogen manufactured by the now-defunct Green Cross Corp. and other blood-clotting drugs after giving birth or undergoing operations between 1977 and 1988, and developed hepatic cirrhosis or chronic hepatitis.

An estimated 2 million people across Japan have been infected with hepatitis C, mainly through tainted blood products, according to medical experts.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.