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Blood plasma clinics a sign of privatization in health care, doctors warn

March 13, 2013

Toronto Star

By: Theresa Boyle

A group of doctors concerned about increasing privatization in Canada’s health-care system has added its voice to the debate over paid-donor blood plasma clinics, arguing there is no justification for them.

“The federal government has made no effort to justify its support of a shift to private paid-donor blood plasma clinics, or communicate its intentions with the provinces,” said Dr. Danielle Martin, chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare.

Earlier this week, federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq bowed to public pressure and agreed to hold more public consultations before making a final decision on whether to allow Toronto-based Canadian Plasma Resources to open two clinics in Toronto and one in Hamilton.

The company would pay $20 to each plasma donor.

Plasma is the protein-rich fluid portion of whole blood and helps transport blood throughout the body.

Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews has also urged the federal government to hold off on approval so there can be more public debate about such clinics.

Martin said the public has a right to know whether Canadian Plasma Services would own the blood plasma for private use, or sell it back to the provinces or to individual hospitals and clinics at a cost to the public purse.

The organization has also accused Ottawa of being “secretive” about considerations for the private for-profit clinics.

“It is unclear to me how the clinics have gotten this far in the game without any kind of public discussion whatsoever about the implications,” Martin said, noting that the clinics have already rented office space and purchased equipment.

Read the article online here

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