A private company paying for blood donations has its sights set on B.C. The company operates in Saskatchewan but is banned in Ontario, and now several groups are asking the BC government to do the same.
A Duncan family suffered greatly during the tainted blood scandal in the 1980’s.
Darlene Taylor’s two sons received blood tainted with hepatitis and HIV.
“So the next few years were kind of like hell because our older son died, quite slowly and painfully,” she said.
Thousands of families were affected. Afterwards, one of the recommendations that came out was to not pay blood donors, but Taylor says that is now being ignored.
“I feel betrayed by what is happening right now,” she said.
A private company called Canadian Plasma Resources wants to open pay-for-plasma clinics in the province.
They offer a $25 gift card in exchange for donating.
The founder of Bloodwatch.org, Kat Lanteigne, said B.C. has no business supporting a private model.
“Private blood collectors don’t actually guarantee us any more access to that blood or plasma product because they need to make a profit so they need to diversify who they sell to,” she said.
Right now the company only has one clinic in Saskatoon. Ontario banned the private practice, and Bloodwatch.org is asking the B.C. government to do the same.
NDP MLA Judy Darcy introduced a bill in the B.C. legislature today calling for the province to ban pay-for-plasma clinics.
Health Minister Terry Lake said Canada already imports the majority of blood plasma from paid donors in the U.S.
“Would we rather they be from the United States than here in British Columbia? That is a question for society to deal with. I know this, lives are saved with plasma proteins, and if we don’t get them from the supply we currently have, those lives would not be saved,” Lake said during Tuesday’s Question Period.
Darlene Taylor said the idea makes her angry.
“People I don’t think donate their blood to have it sold and people who do donate will quit because why bother if people down the street are just going to donate theirs,” Taylor said.
Canadian Blood Services said it does not and will not play for blood, plasma or any other kind of donation.
The private company, Canadian Plasma Resources, did not want to be interviewed.