Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has told a public inquiry institutions and the state can sometimes "close ranks around a lie".
Giving evidence at the infected-blood inquiry, he said it could be seen as a "huge failing of democracy" that victims had waited so long for justice.
At least 5,000 people contracted HIV or hepatitis C in the 1970s and 80s, after being given contaminated blood products and transfusions on the NHS. More than 2,400 have died as a result.
Jenni Richards QC asked whether a 2012 briefing for new ministers in the health department - "almost certainly" not shown to Mr Hunt at the time - stating, under a heading "Key facts", hepatitis C and HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) infection had been a problem in the 1970s and 80s, "before it was possible to screen donors and make products safer", suggested the contamination had been an "unavoidable problem".
Mr Hunt, health secretary for six years until July 2018, replied: "I mean, that briefing is wrong and it shouldn't say that.
"At the very least, ministers should be aware as politicians that this is contentious and disputed by families - but I'm afraid it tries to suggest the issue is closed when it is not."
Source: BBC News, 27 July 2022