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August 3rd, 2022

NDP calls on Liberals to reverse the privatization of Canada’s blood plasma collection

VANCOUVER – NDP Health Critic Don Davies (Vancouver Kingsway) today called on the Liberal government to block the pending sell-off of Canada’s blood plasma system and adopt a national ban on for-profit collection. Canadian Blood Services is set to sign a major contract with foreign pharmaceutical giant Grifols, the world’s largest private plasma producer. This move will put lives at risk and prioritize profits of Big Pharma over the well-being of patients who depend on blood plasma donations.

“In the 1980s, over 30,000 Canadians were infected with HIV and Hepatitis C from tainted blood in Canada, resulting in the deaths of thousands,” said Davies. “To ensure this never happens again, a federal inquiry headed by Justice Horace Krever called for an end to the private, for-profit blood donor system in Canada.”

“Canadian Blood Services and Héma-Québec, with their strong oversight, regulations, non-profit and voluntary donor models, should be the only organizations running blood and plasma donation services in Canada—not Big Pharma,” added Davies. “Evidence from countries such as the U.S. and Hungary shows that voluntary donors are drawn away to become paid plasma donors under the for-profit model. The Liberals must not let this happen in Canada and safeguard this vital public resource.”

Canadian Blood Services’ pending agreement with Grifols is part of a disturbing trend towards the privatization of blood plasma collection under the Liberal government. In 2016, Health Canada granted a license to a private pharmaceutical company, Canadian Plasma Resources (CPR), to establish their first for-profit clinic in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. In 2017, Health Canada also approved CPR’s for-profit plasma collection centre in Moncton, New Brunswick.

“The federal government must not abandon its duty to protect Canada’s voluntary blood donation system and ensure the highest standards in blood safety,” concluded Davies. “It’s time for a national ban on for-profit, privatized blood plasma collection in Canada to protect people and save lives.”