Private Toronto company plans to pay for donations of plasma

Health Canada has received an application by an private for-profit company to operate two plasma collection sites in Toronto.

This comes on the heels of Canadian Blood Services closing down its last dedicated plasma collection site in Thunder Bay last week.

The company, ExaPharma, appears to be run by members of the Toronto Iranian community, the center’s manager an orthopaedic surgeon who had previously worked for the Iran Hemophilia Society.

Most are relatively new graduates, including President Yalda Riahi, a lawyer who was called to the bar in 2011 and works for a Vaughan-area law firm. Her background? According to the web site of Rotundo Di Iorio Quaglietta, she specializes in commercial and personal injury litigation.

While ExaPharma states on its website that it “has an uncompromising commitment to quality and strict adherence to all regulations and guidelines,” it appears to ignore one of the biggest World Health Organization guidelines – donations should not be paid.

On the web site of “Canadian Plasma Resources,” it states:

“Will I be compensated? Yes! We have several options for you, including payment by direct deposit into your bank account, cheque, or prepaid Visa cards. Please check with us again in the future, as we will always be looking to add convenient payment methods.”

It’s not clear that Canadian Plasma Resources is connected to ExaPharma until you click on the link for more information, which takes you to an ExaPharma e-mail address.

The logo for Canadian Plasma Resources strongly resembles that of Canadian Blood Services. Its slogan may sound vaguely familiar too – “give plasma, give life.” Hema-Quebec, the counterpart to CBS in that province, uses “Give blood, give life” as its slogan. The American Red Cross uses “Give Blood.”

ExaPharma claims on its website that “our experience enables us to be committed to producing the best quality plasma-derived therapeutics and improving the lives of those dependent on its therapeutic products.”

Yet it is a new company.

While CBS stated it was closing the Thunder Bay facility due to a surplus of plasma, ExaPharma says their goal is address a Canadian shortage of blood plasma and plasma-derived therapeutics.

ExaPharma maintains that they have no organization relationship to CBS or Hema Quebec.

“In Canada CBS and Hema Quebec have the monopoly in distributing blood, and blood derived products to hospitals and patients across the country, so our only “potential” Canadian customers are CBS and Hema-Quebec,” CEO Barzin Bahardoust explained to us in an e-mail.

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