Protect B.C. patients by banning paid plasma clinics, says Darcy

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VICTORIA— Scott Adams, Andrew Cumming and others like them need access to a safe, stable blood supply, says New Democrat health spokesperson Judy Darcy.

That’s why Darcy is pressing the Christy Clark government to step in immediately and ban paid plasma clinics from British Columbia.

“Scott Adams has needed to have 40 blood transfusions to save his life, blood that came through Canadian Blood Services’ voluntary program,” said Darcy. “And as Blood Services has already noted, the paid clinics are hurting voluntary donations in Saskatoon, where a paid clinic opened in 2016.

“Only government intervention can keep these paid clinics from setting up shop in British Columbia and draining away donations from voluntary clinics.”

Canadian Blood Services CEO Dr. Graham Sher said in December that “”We’ve begun to see some early impacts of having this private, for-profit enterprise operate in our jurisdiction,” noting that their voluntary donor numbers dropped.

Scott Adams was walking his dogs on Gorge Road last summer when he was struck by a vehicle. He needed multiple surgeries, and dozens of transfusions, to save his life.

“Without a voluntary blood donation system, my life would certainly have been at risk,” said Adams. “I am eternally grateful for Canadian Blood Services, and its donors, who literally made the difference between life and death for me.”

Darcy said that private operators like Canadian Plasma Resources are under no obligation to keep what they collect in Canada, so having regular Canadian Blood Services donors go to paid clinics means less blood for Canadian patients.

For Andrew Cumming of Toronto, it’s the safety as well as supply of blood that he’s concerned about. A survivor of the tainted blood scandal, Cumming is the co-founder of BloodWatch, an organization formed to advocate for fulfilling Mr. Justice Horace Krever’s recommendations following that scandal. BloodWatch and the B.C. Health Coalition presented Darcy with a petition with more than 6,000 signatures calling for paid clinics to be banned from B.C.

“Justice Krever was clear: paid blood clinics put the safety of our blood supply at risk,” said Cumming. “Governments need to make patients’ safety the first priority.”

“It’s not too late, but time is running short,” said Darcy. “We want the Christy Clark government to do the right thing to protect the security of blood supply for B.C. patients.”