Activists for a safe blood supply launch cross-country tour in Alberta

Every piece of legislation has a story and we are here to support the Government of Alberta in writing the proper ending to our three decade tragedy by banning the sale of blood and plasma.” — Bloodwatch.org

Edmonton (04 April 2016) — Members of the Canadian Health Professionals Secretariat (CHPS) are meeting in Edmonton, Alberta to discuss major issues confronting the health care system across Canada. At this meeting, members will hear from Kat Lanteigne, co-founder of BloodWatch.org, a non-profit organization that upholds justice Krever's landmark recommendation on how to manage Canada's public blood system. 

Advocates for a safe blood supply who are representing tainted-blood survivors are in Alberta this week to meet with Health Minister Sarah Hoffman and urge her to ban for-profit-private plasma clinics province-wide. The group bloodwatch.org, was instrumental in ensuring Canadian Plasma Resources, owned by Exapharma, was recently banned from operating in Ontario. The private company has recently applied for a licence to open in Alberta. The group argues that proactive legislation is the only way to protect the voluntary blood supply from privatization.

Only 4 countries in the world allow private paid blood collection and Canada's one of them

According to Bloodwatch.org," there are only four countries in the world that allow private paid donor collection and in recent years Germany has seen a decline in voluntary donations because of the cash incentives private companies offer. In the U.S., the poorest and most vulnerable people are selling their plasma to supplement funds for food,The profit incentive is becoming increasingly problematic and the World Health Organizsation (WHO) is advocating for all paid plasma collection to end by 2020."

"Private plasma collection does not increase access to safe blood for Canadians and contravenes Justice Horace Krever’s landmark inquiry on how to improve Canada’s voluntary blood system," wrote Kat Lateigne, of Bloodwatch.org.

Bloodwatch.org lobbying provincially and federally for ban on private for-profit blood and plasma colletions

Members of BloodWatch.org have recently returned to Alberta from a trip to Ottawa where they asked for an additional federal ban.

“We shouldn’t need another blood tragedy to understand how important it is for Canadian blood and plasma to remain a public resource. We have no reason to mirror the American model," wrote Lateigne. "Pharmaceutical companies want to gain control over a resource that saves Canadian lives in order to enhance their profit margins. Every piece of legislation has a story and we are here to support the Government of Alberta in writing the proper ending to our tragic three decade tragedy by banning the sale of blood and plasma.”

Tainted blood survivors warn governments not to repeat Canada's blood tragedy

“All of my friends are dead because of the tainted blood crisis and our new blood system is a legacy that came out of the horror of our blood tragedy," said Andrew Cumming, a tainted-blood survivor and co-infected hemophiliac. Cumming is also a member of Bloodwatch.org. "This is something we have to do in order to make progress and protect our public blood system for the next generation.”

Michael McCarthy, another tainted-blood survivor and former vice-president of the Canadian Hemophilia Society, reminds us that “Justice Krever’s recommendations don’t have an expiry date and this issue was looked at for over two years in Ontario by some of the top blood lawyers in the country. We have a national blood system and what one province does impacts the other. It’s just simply not worth the risk to allow a for-profit model to take hold in Canada.”

More information:

Sign the petition to the federal government to prevent private, for-profit, donor-paid blood product collection in Canada. 

President's Commentary: Federal government must put an end to paid blood donations

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