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Don't allow for-profit blood clinics, say doctors

March 12, 2013

TORONTO - A controversial and secretive new move by the federal government to approve for-profit blood plasma donation services that pays donors isnʼt justified, according to a group of physicians.

"Moving towards a paid-donation system could compromise one of the safest blood donation systems in the world, and it moves donated blood into the private sector," said Dr. Danielle Martin, chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare.

"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."

The federal government has not addressed the impact of these clinics on Canadiansʼ access to blood products, the volume of public donations, or how to ensure safety through transparency and accountability measures.

The for-profit Canadian Plasma Services has three locations that were established far in advance of Health Canadaʼs approval - two in Toronto and one
in Hamilton.

Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews has called for more consideration and engagement to determine the impact of paid-donor blood clinics, noting that paiddonor system was rejected in the report on the tainted blood scandal of the 1980s. It's unclear if Canadian Plasma Services would then 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.

"We support Minister Matthews' caution on this issue, and urge the federal government to continue blood donations through our safe public institutions," said Dr. Martin. "The tainted blood scandals taught us that transparency, accountability and safety come first, and we can best accomplish that with our existing public blood services."


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For more information:
Alissa Von Bargen, Canadian Doctors for Medicare
T: 416-351-3300 C: 647-230-9164
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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