A new private plasma clinic in Saskatoon is causing problems for Canadian Blood Services.
Canadian Plasma Resources opened in February, offering donors $25 gift certificates in exchange for plasma, the liquid in which red and white blood cells are suspended. The liquid is then used to manufacture products that help people with conditions including immune deficiencies and a variety of rare disorders.
CBS CEO Graham Sher told 650 CKOM the clinic has caused voluntary donations to the public system to “dip.”
“We’re seeing fewer donors coming in, and we’re having to rely on them more often,” he said.
“It is an early warning system as far as we’re concerned. The potential is this could become a greater impact should an enterprise of this nature spread across the country.”
Sher voiced concern that while CBS “acts in the best interests” of Canadians, private clinics like the one in Saskatoon are free to sell their plasma to “the highest bidder.”
He noted the increasing demand for plasma highlights the need for supply security, something not guaranteed in the private sector.
“We are saying this is a potential issue we have to monitor very carefully,” he said. “We’ve seen a dip [in Saskatoon] greater than we’ve seen in other parts of the country.”
The Saskatchewan NDP are criticizing the Saskatchewan Party for supporting the private clinic, saying Sher’s concerns make it “clear that the privatized option was the wrong choice from the get-go.”
“This is just another example of how they have put the interests of a private business ahead of the best interests of Saskatchewan people,” said NDP Health Critic Danielle Chartier in a statement.
She added the public collection system “should have been bolstered instead of undermined.”
Canadian Blood Services is a public charity funded by the federal government and provincial and territorial governments. They are responsible for managing the national supply of blood, blood products and stem cells.
–With files from Brent Bosker