Hemophilic Patients Should File Complaints With Majlis -- MP
The Tehran Times
By Maryam Karami
July 11, 2001
TEHRAN The MP from Shahriar and a member of the Majlis Health Commission, Mohammad-Ali Kouzehgar, said that the Iranian Hemophiliac Society (IHS) should forward its complaint against the Blood Transfusion Organization (BTO) and the French company Merieux to Article 90 Commission of the Majlis. The IHS has lodged a complaint against the Blood Transfusion Organization with the fifth and sixth parliaments for purchasing HIV contaminated blood from a French company, Merieux in 1995, as a result of which a group of hemophilic patients got AIDS.
Kouzehgar, in an interview with the TEHRAN TIMES, said that up to now the IHS has not called on the Majlis for help but if it complains, the Health Commission would present its expert view on the issue.
The MP's remark came following a statement issued by the Public Relations Office of the IHS criticizing the silence of the Sixth Majlis on the issue. "The silence of Majlis over the issue, as a result of which 100 people have died, is unjustifiable," said the statement.
The executive director of the IHS, in a separate interview with the TEHRAN TIMES yesterday said, "We did write official letters to the Fifth Majlis four years ago, but they paid no heed to our request to follow up the issue."
"But as soon as the BTO lodged a complaint against the IHS with the Majlis in 1998, the Health Commission of the Parliament called on us to explain about the so-called allegation against the BTO. In the meeting, we informed the officials of the issue," Ahmad Qavidel told the TEHRAN TIMES.
"Following the BTO's complaint, the Article 90 Commission of the Majlis also called on us to attend another meeting in 1999 which was also attended by the then deputy health minister and the current representative in the Sixth Majlis Mohammadreza Khatami," he added.
"We have also written letters to the Sixth Majlis and explained our problem to Budget and Planning Commission and the Health Commission. But they did not give any response. We just had a meeting with MP Alireza Nouri, a member of the Health Commission, and informed him of our problems, and he promised to help us. But afterward, the commission did not take any measures to solve the problem," he said.
Unfortunately, some of the MPs who are well aware of the realities do not take any action over the issue. For example, MP Hossein Marashi, who is a member of the Health Commission, has been previously the head of IHS's office in Gilan Province, and Mohammadreza Khatami was the then deputy health minister, he further noted.
Regarding the IHS's complaint against the French company, Merieux, and the IHS's call for compensation, he said the Iranian Embassy in Paris called on Health Ministry in 1998 to send it some documents over the issue. But the ministry has declined to do so.
"We believe that the ministry has not sent the documents because the import of blood in 1994 was not legal and therefore there is no official document on the issue at the ministry," he said.
However, the Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) have discovered documents from the Customs Office of International Mehrabad Airport and have forwarded them to the court, he said.
He added that some 10 countries had received contaminated blood from France, four or five of which received compensation from the country. The Article 90 Commission of the Majlis has been under criticism why it only deals with political and factional issues, not real problems facing the people, as it has not taken any measures regarding the HIV contaminated blood imported from France.
Although the commission Head Hossein Ansari-Rad in response to these criticisms has said that the commission has not received any complaints regarding the contaminated blood, it has now become clear that the commission has actually received such complaints.
Observers believe that since one side of the complaint is the French company, some MPs are not willing to pursue the issue and restore the rights of many hemophilic patients, including 10- to 12-year-old children.
If the Majlis does not pay any heed to issues related to the people's rights, it will certainly lose its prestige in the eyes of the public.