CUPE, Canada’s largest union, is appalled at the Canadian Blood Services (CBS) decision to sign a secret plasma privatization deal that puts our entire blood system at risk. The 15-year contract with global plasma corporation, Grifols, will allow the corporation to develop a US-style paid plasma system in Canada and give privatization another foothold in the Canadian health care system.
This move goes against the core principles on which CBS was founded. Blood is a public resource, donors should not be paid, and none of the blood operators’ duties should be contracted out to others.
CUPE is calling on the Canadian Blood Services CEO Graham Sher, its board members, and the provincial health ministers who fund the CBS to stop this reckless privatization deal.
There are many reasons to say no to plasma privatization:
- Lack of transparency or accountability: CBS was not transparent that it was considering opening the door to plasma privatization. Advocates like CUPE were excluded from a closed-door consultation on plasma sufficiency that didn’t even look at the risks of plasma privatization.
- It puts our voluntary blood system at risk: even CBS has acknowledged that large-scale commercial growth without appropriate controls could affect our existing system for blood and plasma collection.
- It increases the risk in our blood and plasma supply: paying people to give plasma means that they might not be completely honest on the questionnaires that keep our plasma safe. Relying on a corporation means CBS would have difficulty tracing and limiting exposure to any new blood borne illness.
There is already a strong consensus from the Krever Inquiry into Canada’s national blood supply, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and the World Health Organization Expert Consensus Statement: blood and blood products like plasma should be collected through unpaid voluntary donations. This secretive move by CBS flies in the face of all of that.