Thursday, October 30th4.5°C
23696
22501

Ontario vows to shut down private clinics that pay for blood plasma donations

TORONTO - Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews vowed Tuesday to shut down any private clinics that pay people to donate blood plasma, accusing one firm of targeting the poor.

Canadian Plasma Services was told it would not be given a licence by the province to open clinics in Toronto and Hamilton that would pay people $25 to donate plasma, said Matthews.

"If you look at where they're located, there's no question that they’re going into low-income neighbourhoods," she said. "It's very clear what their business model is."

Paying people to donate plasma would threaten Canada's voluntary blood donation system, said Matthews, who noted that 30,000 Canadians were infected with HIV and hepatitis C from contaminated blood and plasma purchased from "blood brokers" in the 1990s.

"We really believe that a voluntary system is the best system, and I do not want to jeopardize our volunteer-based blood collection system," she said.

Canadian Plasma Services said it was baffled by the province's attempts to shut down the clinics when Ontario buys plasma products from U.S. companies that pay donors directly, and pointed out that the province compensates organ donors for expenses.

"I cannot comprehend why a minister from the government of Ontario would be trying to prohibit any type of compensation for time, for out of pocket expenses, for travel expenses, to plasma donors in Ontario and then go and buy these products from U.S. companies that do the exact same thing," said CEO Barzin Bahardoust.

Canada should develop its own plasma products sector which could create thousands of good paying jobs just to service the domestic market, he added.

"Almost all of the $670 million worth of plasma protein products that were imported to Canada last year were made from plasma collected from paid donors in the United States."

The company offers donors two options for payment: a $25 donation in their name to the Hospital for Sick Children or a $25 Visa card that cannot be converted to cash, in addition to reimbursing travel and accommodation expenses.

Donating plasma takes three times as long as donating blood, and people need to make a commitment to donate dozens of times each year to maintain their status as a qualified donor, said Bahardoust.

"That time commitment means that a plasma donor has to spend up to 80 hours (at the clinic) every year," he said.

"Without compensating them for their time, travelling back and forth to our centres probably 40 times a year, then it's very difficult to get people."

Quebec is the only province to have outlawed payments for plasma donations, and that province is now having trouble finding donors, added Bahardoust.

"Without compensation they are not getting donors, and self-sufficiency levels in Quebec are even lower than in the rest of Canada," he said. "The fact is Canada's need for plasma significantly exceeds our ability to produce it.''

The plasma collected by Canadian Plasma Services is processed into drug products for the global market and is not used for transfusions in Canada, said Matthews.

"Unlike the Canadian Blood Services, (where) the blood collected is used in Canada, this company's business model does nothing to enhance access to those drugs for Canadians or Ontarians," she said.

Matthews introduced regulations last week to prohibit payments to people who donate blood and blood products that she said will be in force within days.

"It still has to go through the next stage, but that will happen very quickly so that it will be illegal for them to offer payment for blood or plasma," she said. "We are not going to be changing our mind on this."

A Health ministry inspector visited one of the company's Toronto clinics Tuesday, but was apparently there just to observe, said Bahardoust.

Follow @CPnewsboy on Twitter

The Canadian Press


Read more Business News




Recent Trending




Today's Market
S&P TSX14495.48-32.09
S&P CDNX778.75-2.32
DJIA17059.9885.67
Nasdaq4544.133-5.093
S&P 5001981.42-0.88
CDN Dollar0.89410.00
Gold1203.30-21.60
Oil81.44-0.52
Lumber324.90-2.10
Natural Gas3.715+0.066

 
Okanagan Companies
Pacific Safety0.10-0.005
Knighthawk0.01-0.005
QHR Technologies Inc1.15+0.02
Cantex0.06-0.01
Anavex Life Sciences0.18-0.012
Metalex Ventures0.03-0.005
Russel Metals32.40-0.17
Copper Mountain Mining2.01-0.01
Colorado Resources0.1350.00
ReliaBrand Inc0.012-0.004
Sunrise Resources Ltd0.025+0.005
Mission Ready Services0.37-0.03

 





FEATURED Property
2119582191 - 1880 Old Boucherie Road
3 bedrooms 2 baths
$98,000
more details
image2image2image2
Click here to feature your property
Please wait... loading


Empty nesting: financial issues

Now that the children have ‘left the nest’, it is a good time to step back and take stock of your financial situation. Being on your own will probably cut household costs to some extent, b...


Keep your haunted home safe

Eerie sounds, spooky lights and Jack-o’-lanterns aglow—extra efforts at Halloween will keep visitors coming back for both tricks and treats. However, to keep the fun going, it’s imp...


What I learned in China

Photo: ContributedI will never be an expert on China. It is just too big, too complex and too old with layers of history and meaning that would take several lifetimes to unravel. As I said to my hosts...

_








Member of BC Press Council


23091