March 14, 2014
TORONTO – The Ontario government’s announcement that it intends to ban paid plasma clinics from operating in the province is a substantial win for the public interest, according to a group of physicians.
“As our organization has been emphasizing since paid clinics began emerging in Ontario in advance of Health Canada’s approval, a shift towards a paid-donation system could represent significant risks for both patients and donors,” said Dr. Ryan Meili, Vice-Chair of Canadian Doctors for Medicare. “Ontario’s recent commitment to legislating against such a for-profit system is a step in the right direction, and Canadian Doctors for Medicare would like to congratulate the government on choosing safety over private interest, and to call on other provinces to do the same.”
Ontario’s proposal involves introducing legislation that will disallow monetary compensation to individuals for their blood and plasma, and boost the province’s ability to penalize clinics that continue to pay. Ontario joins Quebec as the only other province taking a firm legislative stance against for-profit plasma interests.
The issue made a splash in early 2013 when the for-profit Canadian Plasma Services established three locations – two in Toronto and one in Hamilton – that would operate on a paid-donation basis.
CDM called for the government to remember the tainted blood scandal of the 1980s, when around 2,000 Canadians were infected with HIV and thousands more with hepatitis C, and to consider the safety of patients and donors a first priority. The organization also raised awareness by expressing concerns in The Globe and Mail and on CBC’s The Current, as well as a number of other outlets.
“We’re happy that Ontario has responded to the call from CDM and other organizations concerned with public safety,” said Dr. Meili. “Ontario will benefit from this decision, and we can only hope that other provinces will take up the challenge to support transparency and accountability as essential pillars of any safe system.”
For more information:
Chad Andrews, Canadian Doctors for Medicare