Federal panel urging Canada to ramp up efforts to collect blood plasma

OTTAWA — Canada needs to do more to collect and stockpile its own homegrown plasma, the blood component used to make various medical treatments including life-saving drugs known as immune globulins, a federal panel of experts recommended Wednesday.

In its newly released final report, the panel appointed last year by Health Canada was careful to point out it has found no evidence of a looming crisis in the supply of immune globulins, which help the body fight infections, or other products derived from blood plasma.

Nor can it point to any evidence that plasma derived from paid donors is unsafe, the report notes.

Canada — the second-highest per-capita user of immune globulins in the world — is dangerously dependent on paid donors in the U.S., which provide some 83 per cent of the plasma used north of the border, it says. Domestic donations comprise just 17 per cent.

Jurisdictions like the U.S., where paying donors for plasma is allowed, have significantly higher rates of plasma collection compared to others where compensating plasma donors is prohibited, the report says.

Collecting large volumes of source plasma using volunteer donors can be up to four times more expensive than commercial plasma operations, it adds.

“Evidence indicates that, notwithstanding the funding for blood operators to meet collection targets to achieve self-sufficiency, often source plasma programs based on volunteer donors just simply can’t make their targets.”

Private, paid-plasma clinics currently operate in Saskatchewan and New Brunswick, where Canadian Plasma Resources — which has an operating license from Health Canada — pays donors up to $50 for each contribution they make. And Prometic, a manufacturer in Winnipeg, has for years operated a source plasma collection centre using paid donors.

Ontario, Alberta, and Quebec have banned for-profit plasma companies; British Columbia introduced legislation last month that would also ban the practice.

The report says there is no evidence that plasma from paid donors — a growing trend in some jurisdictions in Canada — is unsafe.

Just Posted

Central Alberta school divisions to support rural students through agreement

Wolf Creek to bring Enhanced Learning Model courses to Clearview schools

WATCH: Red Deer Catholic students re-envision a local wetland for school project

Father Henri Voisin Grade 3 teacher introduces ‘real-life’-based education

Manslaughter charge stayed against Maskwacis man

Man was accused of manslaughter in connection with the death of his mother in 2015

Red Deer Mounties make numerous arrests over the past two weeks

Over the past two weeks, Red Deer RCMP have made a number… Continue reading

Leslieville Elks’ new hall rising from the ashes

Leslieville Elks Lodge grateful for outpouring of support

WATCH: Red Deer Catholic students re-envision a local wetland for school project

Father Henri Voisin Grade 3 teacher introduces ‘real-life’-based education

Charges dropped against Alberta property owner in rural shooting

OKOTOKS, Alta. — All charges have been dropped against a man accused… Continue reading

China blocks John Oliver on social media after scathing show

BEIJING — A popular Chinese social media site is censoring discussion of… Continue reading

Most Red Deer Advocate readers would call police when witnessing a crime

An overwhelming number of Advocate readers would call the police if they… Continue reading

So much TV, so little summer: Amy Adams, Kevin Hart, Dr. Pol

LOS ANGELES — The fall television season is months away but that’s… Continue reading

BlackBerry Q1 revenue, adjusted earnings beat estimates but stock falls

TORONTO — BlackBerry Ltd. shares sank almost 10 per cent to their… Continue reading

OPEC countries to pump more oil to contain price increase

VIENNA — The countries of the OPEC cartel agreed on Friday to… Continue reading

Man sentenced for Edson triple murder

EDMONTON — An Alberta man who fatally shot three people has been… Continue reading

‘Hot Dog Water’ seller in Vancouver gets laughs, sales with savvy marketing

VANCOUVER — A Vancouver man who sold bottles of “Hot Dog Water”… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month