The B.C. Health Coalition wants the province to prevent pay-for-plasma donor clinics from setting up here. (Wikimedia Commons photo)

Health group demands ban on paid plasma clinics

Minister non-committal, NDP fears private clinics could drain system of regular blood donors

VICTORIA – The B.C. government came under pressure today to prevent clinics that pay for blood products from launching new operations in the province.

NDP health critic Judy Darcy says only government intervention can ban the private plasma clinics from opening and draining the supply of blood at volunteer donor clinics.

Health Minister Terry Lake says he is not aware of any imminent arrival of a private clinic, and adds more than 80 per cent of B.C.’s current supply of plasma arrives from private facilities in the United States.

He says the government is more concerned with providing reliable blood services to patients than becoming embroiled in an ideological debate about who supplies blood products.

Outside of the legislature, Andrew Cumming, a hemophiliac who contracted hepatitis C and HIV from tainted blood, says paying people for plasma leads to concerns about the safety of the products.

A spokesman for privately run Canadian Plasma Resources says the company is considering opening a clinic in B.C. but has no firm plans at the moment.