By Letter to the Editor on September 28, 2016.
Re: “Guest Column: Blood supplies across Canada must be safeguarded,” Sept. 14
The recent guest column correctly infers that Canadian Blood Services plays a central role in the collection of plasma to create plasma-derived drugs. We do however need to clarify some of the information within the piece.
Ms. Lanteigne leads with, “Private blood brokers are trying to secure a stake in Canada’s blood system in order to make a profit off of our blood plasma and it is putting Canadian lives at risk.” It’s important for readers to understand that paying donors for plasma does not pose a safety issue. The use of plasma-derived drugs over the last three decades shows that drugs made from plasma donated by paid donors are as safe as those made from plasma donated by volunteer donors.
As the national authority for and steward of the blood system in Canada, Canadian Blood Services continues to monitor and analyze the security of the supply of plasma needed to produce plasma protein products. The patients who benefit from these lifesaving products continue to be at the centre of our work.
Ms. Lanteigne also references the Zika virus at the end of her column. The threat of Zika is unrelated to the plasma collection issue. That said, Canadian Blood Services does take the threat of the Zika virus very seriously. In February, we took action to guard the blood supply with new travel restrictions for donors. We’ve calculated the risk of Zika virus entering the Canadian blood system to be extremely low, even with the 40 or so cases that have been confirmed in Florida. As we monitor the situation, we are prepared to update our screening criteria should it pose an unacceptable risk to the Canadian blood supply.
For more information about Canadian Blood Services, or to book an appointment to donate, please visit http://www.blood.ca.
Director of donor relations, Prairies and Northwest Territories, Canadian Blood Services