Nova Scotia says it has no plans to ban paid blood drives
The Nova Scotia government says it has no plans to ban Nova Scotians from selling their blood to private companies.
That’s when a safe blood advocate sounded the alarm about the possible arrival of for-profit plasma collection in Nova Scotia.
“The commercialization of human tissues in the market stimulates the market and, in a way, this is not conducive to the management of a safe public system, because it makes the product competitive instead of a health resource. run for the public,” said Kat Lanteigne of bloodwatch.org, a national nonprofit that advocates for blood safety.
Lanteigne said the organization represents hundreds of patients, medical professionals and survivors of the tainted blood scandal in Canada in the 1980s, which saw more than 30,000 Canadians infected with HIV and hepatitis C. .
On September 7, Canadian Blood Services announced an agreement with the Spanish multinational Grifols to set up a private blood plasma collection system to increase the supply of volunteers.
Donors will be paid for their plasma, and Grifols will process it in Canada and sell it domestically and internationally.
“This is about the security of the pharmaceutical supply,” Canadian Blood Services spokeswoman Delphine Denis said in an emailed statement.
Canadian Blood Services says Canada could run out of supply without the Grifols deal.
“Our priority is to ensure that life-saving immunoglobulin products remain available to patients in Canada,” said Denis.
The Canadian Nurses Federation has come out against the plan.
The Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union also opposes the privatization of blood collection.
“It would be deeply disturbing to see the introduction of private collection clinics in this province, putting profits above ethics and potentially opening the door to other private health-related businesses,” the president said. of the union, Janet Hazelton.
“These actions exploit vulnerable people and call into question the future of other health services in Nova Scotia.”
The leader of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union also has concerns.
“We are concerned about the blood supply, protecting the safe blood supply,” union president Susan Mullen said. “I don’t know if we need to remind people of how far we’ve come before.”
A federal inquiry concluded that blood should be treated as a public resource and no one should be paid to donate blood or plasma.
Canadian Blood Services says it conducted a risk analysis in 2020 and 2021 on the security of Canada’s plasma and immunoglobulin supply.
The analysis concluded that the way forward was to “leverage the not-for-profit and commercial sectors” to help Canada achieve up to 60% self-sufficiency in plasma supply.
“Urgently take additional risk mitigation measures” was another recommendation.
British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec have all passed laws prohibiting payment for blood or plasma donations.
In an email, the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness said there were no plans to go in that direction.
“In Nova Scotia, we will continue to monitor what is happening in other provinces and territories, but at this time no legislation prohibiting paid collection of blood or blood products is being considered,” the spokeswoman said. Khalehla Perrault.
Perrault said Canadian Blood Services CEO Dr. Graham Sher didn’t reveal anything specific about paid blood clinics in Nova Scotia when he met with Health Minister Michelle Thompson at a facility. of Canadian Blood Services in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, on Thursday.
Lanteigne said a visit by Sher to other provinces is often followed by the announcement of private clinics within two or three weeks.
Canadian Blood Services would not disclose whether or when Grifols plans to open fee-based plasma donation centers in Nova Scotia.