RELEASE: Health Coalitions denounce for-profit deal by Canadian Blood Services that endangers Canada’s Blood Supply
Posted: September 20, 2022
(September 20, 2022)
OTTAWA (the traditional and unceded territory of the Anishinabe Algonquin people) – Canada’s provincial and territorial Health Coalitions and the Canadian Health Coalition call for the resignation of the leadership of the Canadian Blood Services (CBS) including the CEO and Board of Directors. This call comes after the appalling decision by CBS to sign a 15-year agreement with a for-profit international pharmaceutical firm to collect plasma.
Instead of investing in expanding successful publicly operated voluntary plasma collection, CBS has signed an agreement that ensures private profits while risking the sustainability of Canada’s blood and plasma supply. The agreement hands over the collection of plasma to private for-profit company Grifols, which will pay donors for plasma, something that experts and public interest advocates have strongly opposed. In fact, Grifols has a history of going into Mexico loading up buses of people taking them across into the US harvesting the plasma and taking them back into Mexico the same day.
This deal endangers the sustainability of Canada’s blood supply by opening up a precious and medically crucial public asset to profit-making. Instead of blood being a universal and free public resource, this deal opens up the doors to private, for-profit corporations moving into the blood collection system. This would harm the voluntary donation system that Canadians currently rely on.
Importantly, this undemocratic deal circumvents legislated provincial bans on private payment for plasma in Ontario and BC. CBS has undermined existing legislation and the citizens of Ontario and BC to make a unilateral decision about Canada’s plasma supply. This is an undemocratic violation of the trust that the public placed in CBS to protect the public blood and plasma collection system.
The Krever commission/Royal Commission of Inquiry on the Blood System in Canada, which led to the creation of the CBS itself, noted that blood should be a public resource and no one should be paid to donate blood or plasma. In provinces where private payment for plasma occurs, voluntary donations have been negatively impacted.
There are proven public and non-profit solutions to increase and protect Canada’s voluntary blood and plasma supply such as building more publicly-operated collection sites. In fact, CBS has already increased their capacity to collect plasma through new voluntary donation sites.
Paid plasma goes against the advice of major international healthcare organizations such as the World Health Organization, the European Blood Alliance and many others.
Therefore, Canada’s Health Coalitions are calling on our health ministers to act to protect our public system, and for the replacement of the CBS CEO and Board of Directors for failing to fulfill their mandate or take leadership in the interest of the Canadian public.
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