By CCU President John Hanrahan
Two thousand Canadians were infected with HIV in the 1980s from receiving tainted blood products, and a further 30,000 Canadians were infected with Hepatitis C from receiving tainted blood. As a result, on October 4, 1993, the federal government commissioned an inquiry into what became known as the Tainted Blood Scandal.
Justice Krever of the Ontario Court of Appeal was named as Commissioner of the inquiry. Justice Krever found that Canada lacked a national Blood policy and that the importation of high risk (for-profit) blood products from the US prison population as well as improper testing were factors in creating this national healthcare calamity. Lives were lost.
Justice Krever found that to avoid these disasters in the future, the Canadian blood system should be governed by the following five principles:
• Blood is a public resource
• Donors should not be paid
• Sufficient blood should be collected so that importation from other countries is unnecessary
• Access to blood and blood products should be free and universal
• Safety of the blood supply system is paramount
The Krever Inquiry resulted in the Canadian Red Cross being stripped of authority over the Canadian blood system and the creation of Canadian Blood Services (CBS), a non-profit organization charged with administering the supply of blood products in Canada.
Yet instead of respecting and implementing the recommendations of the Krever Inquiry, Canadian blood services cleary favors the for-profit model of blood collection and the importation of plasma products. Candian Blood Sevices countinues to import for-profit plasma and is supportive of for-profit paid donor clinics.
The CEO of Canadian Blood Services has been publicly supportive of the for-profit collection of blood products. In addition, a senior staffer at CBS recently resigned and took a job with a large pharamcutecal company that deals in for-profit plasma. It has been reported that this individual was on the company’s board of directors while stiil employed with CBS.
Canadian Blood Services, in practice and in princlpe, has deserted the basic tenants that it was founded upon to support, and has laid the foundation for a for-profit blood system in Canada. Why else would CBS constantly and consitently cut staff and clinic hours and shut down donor locations around the country while at the same time import for profit blood products, if not to make room for the for-profit blood donation sector that CBS so obviously supports?
The Confederation of Canadian Unions calls for a nationwide ban on the for-profit collection of blood products. We call on the federal government to require CBS to live up to and implement the princples of the Krever Inquiry and to get out of the business of for-profit blood products as soon as possible.
Paid blood donor clinics are already banned in Ontario and Quebec. The CCU calls on all other provinces to follow suit and end this dangerous for-profit experiment in our cherished public health care system.
We particularly call on the governments of Saskachwan and Nova Scotia to end their relationships with Canadian Plasma Resources and respect a publicly-run blood system that upholds the princples of the Krever Inquiry.
Sign the petition to say no to for profit blood collection in Canada
Support the CBS workers on strike for a properly resourced public blood system