March 7th, 2016

Liberals must close paid-donor blood clinic, say NDP and tainted blood survivors

OTTAWA – New Democrats joined tainted blood survivors and safe blood activists today in calling on Health Minister Jane Philpott to close Canada’s first for-profit, paid-donor blood plasma clinic that opened in February this year.

“In the 80s, roughly 30,000 Canadians were infected with Hepatitis and HIV because of a tainted blood scandal,” said NDP Health Critic Don Davies. “Clear lessons were learned from this tragedy: profits must not compete with safety when it comes to blood. So why are the Liberals permitting a for-profit, paid-donor blood plasma clinic to operate, putting Canadians at risk once again?”

This February, Canadian Plasma Resources (CPR) opened its first paid-donor and for-profit blood plasma collection clinic in Saskatoon, against the recommendations from the tainted blood scandal inquiry and the wishes of the survivors of the scandal.

The NDP’s call was echoed by tainted blood survivors and advocates.

"Health Canada professes that science and testing can extinguish all risk – an assurance that proved to be false in the past. I am both a witness and victim to this failure," said Michael McCarthy, tainted blood survivor and former Vice-President of the Canadian Hemophilia Society.

Kat Lanteigne, a safe blood advocate and playwright, said that approximately 8000 Canadians will have died because of tainted blood. The voluntary blood system is the legacy of the scandal and it’s being stolen from the survivors for private profits.

“The CPR clinic is in my riding of Saskatoon West,” said NDP MP Sheri Benson (Saskatoon West). “The privatization of healthcare must stop and the Liberals need to close this clinic.”