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B.C.: Protect our blood supply

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Premier Christy Clark <premier@gov.bc.ca>
Opposition Leader John Horgan <oppositionleader@leg.bc.ca>
Andrew Weaver <andrew.weaver.mla@leg.bc.ca>
Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran <mayorandcouncil@kelowna.ca>
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B.C.: Protect our blood supply

*Updated*  Ban pay-for plasma in B.C.

A private company is moving to B.C. to profit off of our blood, unless we stop them now.

Tainted blood infected 30,000 Canadians with HIV and Hepatitis C in the 1980's during one of the worst preventable health crises of our time. An inquiry into the scandal found that in order to prevent another tragedy, Canada must not allow payment for blood and plasma donations. [1]

But now Canadian Plasma Resources (CPR)-- the same company that was kicked out of Ontario after setting up a pay-for-plasma clinic near a homeless shelter and drug treatment centre -- plans to set up shop in B.C. by the end of 2017, with Kelowna being the first market they are looking at. [2]

They want to buy our plasma and export it to be sold on the $11 billion plasma world market. [3]

The sale of organs, tissue, sperm, eggs and embryos are all banned in Canada for good reason. Allowing businesses to pay people for their blood sets us on a very slippery slope to commodifying our body parts.

Banning the sale of plasma is the only way to protect our blood system from predatory profiteers. Ontario, Alberta and Quebec have all banned selling blood and plasma. [4]

Shockingly, the current health minister, Terry Lake, said he's open to pay-for-plasma in our province.[5]

Canadian Blood Services has just announced that they are going to expand their voluntary plasma collection services. We have a limited pool of potential donors and pay-for-plasma clinics would serve as competition for donors for our voluntary blood system, threatening our supply of blood materials.

The new pay-for plasma clinic in Saskatoon, operated by CPR, has already shown to be decreasing the number of voluntary blood donors to our public system, operated by Canadian Blood Services.[6]

Only four countries in the world allow paid plasma.

The World Health Organization says all pay for plasma business should be phased out worldwide by 2020. So why would B.C. go in the opposite direction?

Please send a quick message calling for political leadership to protect our blood supply.

 

Click here to find a PDF version of the letter. 

You can use the PDF above to help spread the word about this campaign. Print several copies of the letter and bring it to your next family dinner, book club or community meeting! 

 

Additional information on pay-for-plasma:

      1. 10 things to know about paid plasma and Canada: http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/paid-plasma-blood-donations-canada-1.3480763
      2. There is no evidence that the collection of plasma from paid donors will create greater self-sufficiency for Canada. Right now there is no shortage of fresh plasma from voluntary donors for transfusions. Canada will still have to import plasma-based drugs unless Canadian Blood Services expands its voluntary plasma collection sites to increase supply of plasma for pharmaceutical products, as recommended in the Krever Report. Instead of increasing domestic voluntary supply, Canadian Blood Services has closed down some of its voluntary plasma collection centres. [7]
      3. The Krever report made unequivocal recommendations that must be heeded to prevent another tainted blood tragedy in this country. Specifically, the Inquiry recommended an end to a private, for-profit blood donor system in Canada, citing these five basic principles regarding how the blood system should be governed:

        - Blood is a public resource.
        - Donors should not be paid.
        - Sufficient blood should be collected so that importation from other countries is unnecessary.
        - Access to blood and blood products should be free and universal.
        - Safety of the blood supply system is paramount.

Sources:
[1] http://publications.gc.ca/site/eng/72717/publication.html
[2] http://www.kelownadailycourier.ca/business_news/article_43f8da04-ffcf-11e6-bff2-4b778b05b84d.html
[3, 7] http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/plasma-pay-tainted-blood-scandal-clinic-cpr-donors-1.3498604
https://cupe.ca/sites/cupe/files/plasma-for-profit-march-2016.pdf
http://healthydebate.ca/opinions/for-profit-plasma-clinics-are-risky-business
[4] http://www.kamloopsthisweek.com/health-minister-lake-not-concerned-with-company-buying-blood-plasma/
[5] http://www.theprovince.com/health/alberta+introduces+legislation+donating+blood+plasma+profit/13102290/story.html
[6] http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/plasma-canadian-blood-services-1.3906721