SOURCE: BloodWatch.org

March 30, 2016 12:17 ET

Victims of Tainted Blood Tragedy Condemn Pay-for-Plasma, Urge Liberal Government to Ban Private Plasma Clinics in BC

VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwired - March 30, 2016) -  Tainted blood survivors and safe blood advocates strongly urge Minister Terry Lake to ban for-profit-private plasma clinics in BC. The group BloodWatch.org were instrumental in ensuring Canadian Plasma Resources/Exapharma were recently banned from operating in Ontario. Private plasma collection does not increase access to safe blood for Canadians and contravenes Justice Horace Krever's landmark inquiry on how to improve Canada's voluntary blood system.

There are only four countries in the world that allow private paid donor collection and in recent years Germany has seen a decline in voluntary donations because of the cash incentives private companies offer. In the US the poorest and most vulnerable people are selling their plasma to supplement funds for food. The profit incentive is becoming increasingly problematic and the WHO is advocating for all paid plasma collection to end by 2020.

The group is urging the Liberal Government to adapt the Ontario legislation and ban private blood clinics in BC, citing the fact that having one national blood operator in Canada was a fundamental tenet of the Krever Inquiry and that safe blood was available when Krever issued his report. Re-opening clinics that Canadian Blood Services has closed down in BC would also increase plasma supply for residents.

"We shouldn't have to have another blood tragedy to understand how important it is for Canadian blood and plasma to remain a public resource and we have no reason to mirror the American model. Pharmaceutical companies want to gain control over a resource that saves Canadian lives in order to enhance their profit margins. Private plasma collection bears no benefit to Canadian citizens and deregulating our blood system because no one has been killed in twenty-three years is an inscrutable defense."

- Kat Lanteigne Co-Founder of BloodWatch.org

 "All of my friends are dead because of the tainted blood crisis and our new blood system is a legacy that came out of the horror of our blood tragedy, this is why legislation is so important, because it closes the door on this three decade nightmare that I still live with everyday. This is something we have to do in order to make progress and protect our public blood system for the next generation."

- Andrew Cumming -- tainted blood survivor and co-infected hemophiliac

"It is a proven fact that the for-profit collection model does not work in Canada and we must use all of our mechanisms to protect the Canadian blood supply. Justice Krever's recommendations don't have an expiry date and this issue was looked at for over two years in Ontario by some of the top blood lawyers in the country. We have a national blood system and what one province does impacts the other. It's just simply not worth the risk to allow a for-profit model to take hold in Canada."

- Michael McCarthy -- tainted blood survivor and former Vice-President of the Canadian Hemophilia Society

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