Payment for blood donors comes to Canada
2013 February 25th

Plasma can be processed in the U.S. into immunoglobulin, an expensive intravenous drug used to treat cancer and other diseases.

Hematologist Dr. Lois Shepherd, a pathology professor at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., is dismayed by the move away from the altruistic donation model previously embraced in Canada. She considers the safety concerns surrounding volunteer versus paid donors to be somewhat moot since all blood is thoroughly checked for transmissible diseases.

"For me, the bigger concern is that we do rely on volunteer blood donors in Canada, and if we're attracting younger people to be paid donors as plasma donors they are going to be pulled out of a population of people that might potentially be committed red cell whole blood donors."

Shepherd noted that Canadian hospitals are top users worldwide of drug products derived from plasma and demand is constantly increasing. She said it's hard to watch the voluntary system be "nibbled away."

2013 February 25