Alberta Introduces Legislation to Ban For-Profit, Remunerated Plasma Collection
National – The Canadian Health Coalition is applauding the Government of Alberta for introducing Bill 3 the “Voluntary Blood Donations Act”, which aims to protect the security of supply of blood and plasma by banning payment for blood donations in the province. Upon the passing of Bill 3, Alberta will be the third Canadian province to have banned payment for blood. Ontario and Quebec are the other two.
This legislation is being introduced when the security of Canada’s plasma supply is being threatened by private, for-profit plasma clinics. In 2016, a private, for-profit company paying people with $25 gift cards in exchange for their blood plasma was established in Saskatoon and will be opening new clinics in Moncton, NB and Kelowna, BC later this year. Already the paying competitor has negatively impacted collection rates in Saskatoon according to Canadian Blood Services.
It is the goal of the World Health Organization, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Society, the European Blood Alliance and others that all blood be collected by voluntary, unpaid donors. Canadian Blood Services (CBS) has recently announced a new plan to scale-up their collection of voluntary, non-remunerated plasma collection in Canada but that effort could be threatened by private, for-profit collectors.
“There are concerns that for-profit plasma centres will sell plasma collected in Canada on the international market,” says Adrienne Silnicki, national coordinator, Canadian Health Coalition. “Due to rules in international trade deals, this will mean that in times of need Canada will not be able to stop selling on the international market and ensure there is enough supply to meet Canadian need.”
The Canadian Health Coalition hopes MLAs in Alberta will work with Health Minister Sarah Hoffman to swiftly pass Bill 3 and that other provinces and territories follow the examples of Alberta, Ontario and Quebec by introducing similar legislation banning the sale of plasma. “The Canadian Health Coalition is calling upon the Federal government to rescind the establishment license of Canadian Plasma Resources and ban all for-profit, remunerated plasma collection in Canada,” says Silnicki.
“Our bodies should not be for sale, whether it be blood, organs or other tissues. Canadians pride themselves on their generosity, and we should always aim to meet these medical needs through voluntary means,” says Sandra Azocar, Executive Director, Friends of Medicare.
Click here for more information on plasma collection in Canada and the debate surrounding paid plasma.
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Adrienne Silnicki at 613-402-6793
Interviews may also be available with our Board member Dr. Michele Brill-Edwards, MD.