Who really wrote these letters?

Last month we wrote to the provincial and territorial ministers of health about our concerns regarding the security of Canada’s supply of plasma and plasma-based products.

This was following the announced closure of the Thunder Bay Plasma Donor Clinic. While Canada has never been self-sufficient in its plasma needs, CBS said they had 10,000 units too many and were therefore shuttering their doors in that city.

This week we got two letters back from opposite ends of the country.

In the letter from Jane Crickmore, Executive Director at the BC Ministry of Health, she writes:

“While plasma self-sufficiency was an original goal when the CBS was created over 13 years ago, after extensive stakeholder consultation, it was determined that sufficiency, not self-sufficiency, was key to a broader risk management approach to ensure a safe, secure, cost-effective plasma supply.”

In a letter arriving the same day from Bruce Cooper, a Deputy Minister with the Department of Health and Community Services in Newfoundland and Labrador, he writes:

“While plasma self-sufficiency was an original goal when the Canadian Blood Services was created over 13 years ago, after extensive stakeholder consultation, this was revised with provincial and territorial representatives in 2004, when it was determined that sufficiency, not self-sufficiency, was key to a broader risk management approach to ensuring the plasma supply.”

This raises an obvious question: when it comes to ensuring the safety and security of Canada’s plasma supply, who is really wagging the dog? Is it the provincial and territorial ministers, or a group of executives at Canadian Blood Services?

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