About 1,000 people protested outside the health ministry Monday, demanding the government admit responsibility for AIDS-tainted imported blood products that have infected more than 2,000 people.
The protests were in support of 215 hemophiliacs infected with AIDS who have filed lawsuits in Tokyo and Osaka accusing the government and five pharmaceutical companies of supplying them with contaminated products.
The protesters blame the government for delays in adopting measures to prevent contamination. The Japanese government lagged more than two years behind the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s 1983 decision to heat-treat blood products, and failed to order drug makers to withdraw unheated products from the market.
Each plaintiff is demanding $1.3 million in compensation.