Sir Brian Langstaff says The Haemophilia Society's claims about funding are "without foundation"

Correction 30th Jan 2019 - Following a call today The Solicitor to the Inquiry has advised that it may be possible in some circumstances that MLaw could apply to the Inquiry to represent CP’s at the Inquiry who are infected / affected but that the Solicitors Regulation Authority could step in to stop this.

Sir Brian Langstaff (Chair of the Infected Blood Inquiry) has said today that suggestions made by The Haemophilia Society are “without foundation”.

Since the inception of the Inquiry, Factor 8 and many of it’s members have contested The Haemophilia Society’s attempted public positioning that it “represents” the interests of those infected / affected, or at least, solely those interests.

This is because The Haemophilia Society has received well over £1 Million in combined funding from Pharmaceutical Companies and the Department of Health, since the time the Contaminated Blood Scandal unfolded. Today, the Society remains in receipt of funding from global Pharma giants (or those who took over their predecessors) who caused many of the infections through infected Factor VIII & IX plasma products in the 1970s and 1980s. For these and other reasons, The Haemophilia Society is alleged to be at gross conflict of interest.

Conversely, Factor 8 forbids any financial contributions from the pharmaceutical industry in order to maintain total independence. Jason Evans (Founder of Factor 8) said:

It is crucial in my view that any organisation claiming to represent any group in this realm is completely free from any potential conflict of interest. Only this week for example, Factor 8 was again approached to consult for a major company with interests in the Haemophilia market, their offer was declined as will future offers.

Fortunately, the Infected Blood Inquiry accepted The Haemophilia Society’s conflicts early on in 2018 and for that reason, The Haemophilia Society’s legal representation (Malcomson Law) currently represents only 1 client at the Infected Blood Inquiry which is The Haemophilia Society itself. Malcomson Law represents no infected or affected individuals at the Inquiry and will not be allowed to do so according to a commitment given by the Solicitor to the Inquiry in 2018.

The Haemophilia Society has now lashed out in a letter to the Cabinet Office, where it referred to what it described as the “shortcomings” of the Inquiry being chaired by Sir Brian Langstaff.

Amongst other claims, The Haemophilia Society said that “we are concerned that we will not have the ability to participate on an equal footing to others involved in the investigatory stage of the Inquiry”. - the society also asked for a meeting with Cabinet Minister David Lidington “to discuss our concerns and to help us find a way through this impasse, which is hindering our work with the Inquiry”.

Sir Brian Langstaff said:

At the start of the Infected Blood Inquiry the Minister of State for the Cabinet Office, The Rt Hon David Lidington, gave me the assurance that the Inquiry would have at its disposal the financial resources it would need to get to the truth of what happened. 

Nothing I have seen, and nothing that Mr Lidington has done, makes me doubt that this is still the case.

The suggestions made over the weekend by the Haemophilia society that the Inquiry is not being provided with sufficient funds are, therefore, without foundation. 

Concluding his rebuttal of The Haemophilia Society’s claims, Sir Brian said:

The Inquiry remains committed to its search for the truth and will report its findings without fear or favour

The full statement’s by both the Society and the Inquiry can be found on their respective websites.

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