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NEWS: Harper government considering application from for-profit blood donation clinic

CBC reports that the Harper government is considering an application from Canadian Plasma Resources to open for-profit blood donation clinics in Toronto and Hamilton where donors would be paid $20 for being hooked up to a plasma collection machine.

Dr. Danielle Martin, the chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare, called on the federal government to deny approval to Canadian Plasma Resources. She says, “The critical issue here is opening up our blood services sector to for-profit companies who have an interest in providing a profit to their shareholders that at times could conflict with the imperative to maintain high quality health standards for Canadians.”

According to the news report, “Provincial health ministers are concerned about the move and its impact on Canada’s voluntary blood products system. …The World Health Organization and the International Society of Blood Transfusion call for fully altruistic blood donation. Countries that allow payments include China, Iran, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria and the U.S.” But Dr. Graham Sher, chief executive officer for Canadian Blood Services, has argued that a prohibition on paying donors is not an option when lives are at risk.

“Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq has asked her officials to take a closer look at the licensing application from Canadian Plasma Resources…”