The apology came shortly after a published report stated that from hundreds to thousands of people contracted Hepatitis C virus (HCV) and HIV through donor blood in Scotland in the 1970s and 1980s.
The 1800-page Penrose Inquiry report said an estimated 2,500 transfusion patients were infected with HCV. Another 500 people were infected as a result of therapy for a bleeding disorder.
Nearly 80 people were found to have contracted HIV from contaminated blood over the 14-year period ending in 1991, according to the report.
The inquiry also looked into measures that could have minimized the risks noting that collection of blood from prisoners should have been stopped earlier than the early 1980s.
Scotland was the only part of the United Kingdom included in the inquiry.
HIV, which can lead to AIDS, was first identified in 1983. The first tests for HCV, an infectious disease primarily affecting the liver, became available in 1989.