Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews has asked Health Canada to delay licensing of three new clinics that would pay donors for blood plasma.
The new clinics represent a fundamental change in how we treat blood donations in Canada and is contrary to the recommendations of both the Krever Inquiry and the World Health Organization.
Two private clinics have been set up in Toronto, and a third is planned for Hamilton. The three cannot open until they get licensing approval from Health Canada.
We first learned about these clinics almost a year ago when Canadian Blood Services announced it was closing its last remaining dedicated plasma collection site in Thunder Bay.
At that time we wrote to all provincial health ministers — including Deb Matthews — as well as Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq. The NDP’s France Gelinas asked questions for us on the floor of the legislature. We even circulated two petitions which were also introduced into both Federal and Provincial Parliaments. Outside of Thunder Bay, the media treated the story with indifference despite our efforts.
A year ago we thought it odd that CBS was telling us on one hand that there was an oversupply of plasma, while on the other hand a private company was setting up shop in the province to collect substantially more. CBS’ own annual report showed they were also increasing imports of American plasma.