Private, for-profit blood collection clinics coming to a theatre near you?
With Health Canada and the government of Saskatchewan close to approving private, for-profit blood collection clinics in that province, Canadians are being urged to sign a petition to raise the controversial issue in the House of Commons.
A private company, Canadian Plasma Resources/Exa-Pharma, is also lobbying British Columbia and Nova Scotia to set up similar clinics. Ontario outlawed the practice under the Voluntary Donations Act in 2014.
Under the Saskatchewan proposal, donors would be paid to donate blood and plasma. Export sales would be allowed.
“Saskatchewan’s move will increase costs, not decrease them, because the private provider will need to build in a profit margin,” said Sean Allen, who represents OPSEU members working for Canadian Blood Services (CBS).
“Worse, the move will impact CBS’ donor base which relies on volunteers and will, in effect, set up competition for blood and blood products. CBS and Hema Québec already have the facilities and abilities to collect plasma so adding another player to the mix makes no sense at all.”
Blood tainted with the HIV virus and Hepatitis C in the 1980s led to the worst public health tragedy in Canadian history, claiming more than 1,000 lives. The disaster led to the establishment of a commission of inquiry to study how the blood system became contaminated and to make recommendations to the federal government.
Among the key findings of the commission:
· Blood is a public resource;
· Donors should not be paid;
· Canada should become self-sufficient in blood products;
· Access to blood products should be free and universal;
· Safety of the blood system is paramount.
Opponents also say that by allowing private blood-collection clinics, Canada is taking a dangerous step in the direction of a two-tier blood system in the country. Currently, only Canadian Blood Services is allowed to collect blood.
Sign the petition today to outlaw private, for-profit blood- and plasma-collection clinics like Canadian Plasma Resources/Exa-Pharma.
Five hundred signatures are required to raise the issue in the House of Commons.
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