• Kyodo News

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Patients with severe hepatic dysfunction may be allowed to be certified as physically disabled, which would allow them to receive special state support in the form of tax cuts, public transportation discounts and welfare services, health officials said Friday.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry could grant the status to hepatitis patients next year after revising relevant ordinances. About 30,000 to 50,000 liver disease patients are expected to obtain that certification.

A panel at the ministry agreed Friday that people who are suffering from all types of liver disorders and serious restrictions on their daily lives without expectations for being cured should basically be entitled to the certificates.

People have sued the government and pharmaceutical companies for right to be certified as disabled ever since a nationwide scandal over tainted blood products erupted in the 1990s in which it was discovered that at least 10,000 people were negligently infected with hepatitis C.

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