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Comox Valley chapter opposes for-profit, pay-for-plasma collection clinics

Village Market Day in Cumberland.

The Council of Canadians Comox Valley chapter opposes privately-owned, for-profit plasma collection clinics.

In May 2016, the chapter tabled at the Village Market Day in Cumberland that draws many people. Afterwards, a blog by the chapter reported, “Interested passers-by signed BC Health Coalition letters to Health Minister Terry Lake asking him to ban pay-for-plasma clinics in BC. There were also letter writing tips and contact information for those who were interested in writing their own letters to the Minister.”

Today, CBC reports, “The B.C. government came under pressure today to prevent clinics that pay for blood products from launching new operations in the province. NDP health critic Judy Darcy said only government intervention can ban the private plasma clinics from opening and draining the supply of blood at volunteer donor clinics. Darcy was joined at the legislature by members of the B.C. Health Coalition who [and its member groups] collected more than 6,000 signatures on a petition calling for an immediate ban on the pay-for-plasma clinics.”

The Trudeau government approved the first private, for-profit plasma collection clinic in Saskatoon in February 2016 despite opposition from the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour, and the Council of Canadians, including the Regina chapter.

Additional clinics are also being planned in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

In March 2016, The Coast also reported, “The privately-owned Canadian Plasma Resources has met with provincial government officials in Nova Scotia about opening pay-for-plasma clinics in this province. Canadian Plasma Resources’ CEO confirmed to the NDP that the Liberal government is supportive of the idea.”

And on December 28, 2016, CTV reported, “A questionable private plasma clinic is getting closer to opening in Moncton, which would make it only the second of its kind in the country. While construction is expected to wrap up in the coming days, Canadian Plasma Resources isn’t expecting to receive conditional authorization from Health Canada until the end of February 2017. If it’s successful, it will have to pass several inspections before it is fully licensed. If all goes to plan, the clinic could be open as soon as March 2017. New Brunswick Health Minister Victor Boudreau [has stated] he does not plan on blocking the private clinic.”

That article gives the context that, “The company operates one clinic in Saskatoon, paying donors $25 per plasma deposit. Kat Lanteigne, executive director and co-founder of Bloodwatch, a not-for-profit organization which advocates for a voluntary, public Canadian blood system, says the notion is hurting the number of volunteers donating to Canadian Blood Services. Bloodwatch warns paid donations aren’t always used to treat Canadians. In this case, private plasma is shipped overseas to be used in pharmaceuticals, though the company says it hoping to work with CBS in the future.”

Council of Canadians health care campaigner Michael Butler says, “Plasma must be treated as a public resource, not an opportunity for pharmaceutical industry profits, There is no reason jeopardize the safety and integrity of our voluntary blood system. Public, not-for-profit, voluntary blood and plasma collection is the safest and most ethical method of collection.”

The Council of Canadians has been opposing Canadian Plasma Resources opening for-profit blood plasma collection clinics since March 2013.