Tainted-blood scandal: Canadian Red Cross pleaded guilty

The Canadian Red Cross pleaded guilty yesterday to a single charge arising from the &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/main/2002/08/14/34555.html ' target=_blank>tainted-blood scandal and publicly accepted responsibility for the disaster that left thousands of people infected with HIV and hepatitis C, saying it "is deeply sorry for the injury and death caused to those who were infected by blood or blood products it distributed" in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Many HIV and &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/science/19/94/377/14717_vaccine.html ' target=_blank>hepatitis C sufferers from across Canada said they had waited decades to hear those words, aired in a Hamilton court through a videotaped statement by the current Red Cross chief executive officer, Dr. Pierre Duplessis.

Mike McCarthy, spokesman for the Canadian Hemophilia Society and a tireless activist for victims, welcomed the admission of wrongdoing but with little satisfaction, informs the Globe and Mail.

More than 3,000 people have died since getting the tainted blood in the 1980s.

The blood scandal is widely regarded as one of the worst public health disasters in Canadian history.

The organisation now faces a fine of up to C$5,000 ($4,000), but charges of criminal negligence could be dropped as part of a deal with prosecutors.

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