A generation has passed since more than 30,000 Canadians became infected with HIV and hepatitis C through the blood system. According to the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Justice Horace Krever’s 1997 report on the tragedy is considered to be one of the most influential reports on public health in Canadian history.
The CMAJ notes that two aspects of Krever’s recommendations transcended the blood system and have influenced broader health care policy – the adoption of the precautionary principle and a governance system that prioritizes safety.
A recent proposal to set up a series of privatized plasma collection sites across Canada using paid donations has raised questions as to whether those two principles continue to be applied. Surprisingly, Canadian Blood Services has itself played down any potential threats to both the health risks of paid donation and its own ability to compete for donors.
Given expectations around Health Canada’s decision whether to license the private collection centres, Moyo Theatre has emerged with a timely cultural intervention.