It was supposed to take place last fall. Now two private for-profit plasma collection centres are to open shortly in Toronto.
With approval from Health Canada it represents a major shift in how we deal with biological donations – the centres will be paying for plasma from donors contrary to the recommendations of both the Krever Inquiry and the World Health Organization.
Canadian Blood Services says they have nothing to do with the company, although they admitted to us last year that this is something they may reconsider in four or five years. The private company has no relationship with CBS’ counterpart in Quebec either.
Which raises the question of what this company is planning to do with all the plasma they are collecting? The most likely route is to sell it to fractionators in the United States to make intravenous products that could end up back in Canada.
Before Canadian Blood Services closed down the Thunder Bay plasma collection centre last April, plasma was getting shipped from northern Ontario to South Carolina for fractionation into something called Immunoglobulin, better known as IVIG. The IVIG was in turn sent back to CBS for distribution across Canada. CBS was supplying about 25 per cent of the plasma needed to make the Canadian supply of IVIG, the rest coming from American donors — many of whom would have got paid.