CALGARY — Today representatives from health coalitions, unions, and public health care advocacy organizations across the country have come together to express their deep concerns regarding the decision of Canadian Blood Services (CBS) to enter into an exclusive 15-year contract with Grifols, a multinational pharmaceutical company.
This deal effectively privatizes the majority of plasma collection in Canada, as Grifols has taken over other private clinics and will be expanding quickly. The terms of this contract are secret, but what has been made public clearly violates the memorandum of understanding (MOU) that created CBS, and goes against the recommendations of the Krever Commission and World Health Organization guidance.
The organizations presented at the Canadian Blood Services Open Board Meeting in Calgary earlier today, and directly challenged the CBS Board of Directors and senior management. They called on them to stay the contract with Grifols and to uphold the mandate CBS was formed under, which includes protecting the voluntary system of blood and plasma donation.
Today’s meeting ensured that CBS board members, who are appointed by provincial and territorial health ministers, were publicly presented with the objections to paid-plasma proliferation in Canada. They were also presented with a call to instead expand our voluntary and non-paid blood and plasma system. These organizations are firmly against the commodification of blood, plasma, and human tissue and have consistently called for government action to expand the current bans of blood and tissue sale to include plasma.
Should the CBS board be unwilling to take action to stay this contract, it is incumbent on the country’s health ministers to intervene to protect our blood and plasma system. The organizations who presented at the CBS Open Board Meeting, and many others who were not in attendance, will continue to challenge the proliferation of for-profit, paid-plasma collection in Canada.
"Turning our backs on the generosity of voluntary donors by selling our donor base out to a for-profit foreign company is in opposition to responsible, ethical blood management. As an organization which was founded by blood recipients, we reject the poor decisions that have been made to openly exploit vulnerable populations to sell their blood for money. Patients have a right to ethically sourced blood products." - Kat Lanteigne, Executive Director, BloodWatch
"The privatization of plasma collection is a direct threat to the well-being of patients and the long-term sustainability of our health care system. We urge the Canadian Blood Services Board of Directors to reconsider their decision and prioritize the preservation of our voluntary system of blood and plasma donation." - Bert Blundon, President, National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE)
"Contracting plasma collection to a private company undermines the trust and goodwill of voluntary donors who selflessly contribute to the well-being of Canadians. We stand united in calling on the Canadian Blood Services Board to reverse course and protect the integrity of our blood and plasma system." - Jason MacLean, Secretary-Treasurer, National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE)
"As President of HSAA, I firmly believe that the preservation of our current voluntary donation system is paramount. The recent agreement with Grifols undermines the very mandate of Canadian Blood Services and puts our patients and donors at risk. As an EMS worker, I know how important access to blood and plasma is for patients and am standing against this commodification, which will undermine our current voluntary system. The board of CBS must reverse this decision in order to safeguard the well-being of Canadians." - Mike Parker, President, Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA)
"The decision to privatize plasma collection in Canada sets a dangerous precedent that could erode our voluntary donation system. We implore the Canadian Blood Services Board to reverse this decision and protect the principle of a publicly funded and voluntary blood and plasma system. Friends of Medicare is committed to public health care and stands firmly against all aspects of privatization of our health care system. As an Alberta-based advocacy group, we also continue to denounce the repeal of Alberta’s Voluntary Blood Donations Act.” - Chris Gallaway, Executive Director, Friends of Medicare
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