Tainted blood survivors, advocates, strongly oppose private, paid-for plasma clinic; urge Prime Minister Trudeau and Health Minister Jane Philpott to block Saskatchewan plan

TORONTO, Jan. 22, 2016 /CNW/ - Tainted blood survivors and safe-blood advocates who testified alongside Canadian Blood Services CEO, Dr. Graham Sher, to ban private plasma collection in Ontario are now alarmed that the same company is attempting to operate in Saskatchewan. The Ontario government shut down Canadian Plasma Resources in 2014 to prevent it from opening three private blood collection clinics in high-risk areas so that it might export plasma to world markets.  

The existence of private blood collection clinics in Canada directly contravenes the key recommendations of Justice Horace Krever's landmark, federally-funded inquiry on how to safely manage the blood supply. Krever explicitly concluded that in Canada blood is a public resource, donors should not be paid, and safety of the blood system should be paramount. Creating a two-tiered collection system undermines the voluntary blood system by creating competition for donors. These findings came at the expense of more than 30,000 Canadians who became infected with HIV and hepatitis C due to systemic government and bureaucratic failings. The tainted blood crisis is Canada's largest health tragedy and has claimed the lives of thousands of Canadians with more dying each month.

"We are deeply concerned that the public is not being informed on the implications of private plasma collection in Canada. This would be a fundamental shift in our blood policy which is unacceptable after all of the lives we have lost due to previous government failures to protect our domestic blood supply," says tainted blood survivor and hemophiliac Michael McCarthy.

"There is a lot of misinformation being generated by a profit-motivated company that is in the trade of body parts. We are asking Prime Minister Trudeau and Health Minister Philpott to step in and not issue this company a license until a full transparent discussion can happen on how this could affect Canadians," said Kat Lanteigne, safe-blood advocate and writer of the theatrical production, "TAINTED".

The federal government, through Health Canada, has the authority to ban the practice of private blood collection across the country.

"Our prime minister cannot expect tainted blood survivors to stave off blood-brokers province by province. The proliferation of private blood clinics in Canada would compound a three-decade tragedy and shatter the efforts made by those brave Canadians who fought to make our blood system safer," said Lanteigne

The group has started an e-petition asking the federal government to have the private clinics banned across Canada.

Saskatchewan has the highest HIV and hepatitis C rates in the country.

SOURCE Kat Lanteigne

For further information: Kat Lanteigne, 647.272.7381, jimmydelaco@gmail.com

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