New For-Profit Blood Plasma Clinic Threatens Safety of Canadians: Davies

February 18, 2016

NEW FOR-PROFIT BLOOD PLASMA CLINIC THREATENS SAFETY OF CANADIANS: NDP

Canadian Plasma Resources (CPR) announces that it will today open Canada’s first for-profit, paid-donor blood plasma clinic and begin collecting from the public

OTTAWA – NDP Health Critic Don Davies (Vancouver Kingsway) is calling on the federal health minister to take measures to close Canada’s first paid-donor, for-profit blood plasma collection clinic, which announced its opening today in Saskatoon.

“Canadians rely on a blood supply system that puts safety and the public interest first,” said Davies. “We cannot allow profit maximization to compete with safety in the collection and delivery of Canada’s life-saving blood resources.”

Canada’s Krever Inquiry into the tainted blood scandal of the 1980s, which resulted in tens of thousands of Canadian blood recipients contracting HIV and Hepatitis and cost billions in compensation, specifically recommended against privatized, paid-donor blood collection, citing its role in causing the tainted blood to enter the system. This recommendation led to the creation of the highly regulated, non-profit Canadian Blood Services, which runs Canada’s blood collection and supply process from exclusively volunteer donors.

“The Ontario government understood the gravity of this issue when they chose to ban paid-donor blood collection in December 2014, as does Quebec” added Davies. “They understand that paid-donor clinics not only increase the risk to our blood product safety but also divert donors from the public system to the private one.”

“So why is the federal government giving this clinic the green light?”

With a thriving international market for blood products, there is no guarantee that the plasma sold by Canadians to CPR will remain in Canada to be used by Canadians in need. In fact, CPR is under no legal obligation to provide such a guarantee and has no existing agreement to provide plasma to Canadian Blood Services.

“CPR has a history of establishing for-profit, paid-donor clinics in vulnerable communities and low-income neighbourhoods,” said Sheri Benson (Saskatoon West) who represents the riding where the new clinic is opening. “As a community, are we comfortable allowing a company to profit off the blood of vulnerable Canadians living in poverty? That’s the question we need to ask ourselves.”

Davies sent a letter on February 11, 2016 to the Minister of Health calling for Health Canada to withhold the granting of a license to this clinic, but has yet to receive a response. He has also sponsored an e-petition on this issue.

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