Tuesday November 21, 2017 (OTTAWA) – On the eve of the 20th anniversary of the Krever Inquiry into the tainted blood scandal, parliamentarians, health advocates and health professionals gathered in Ottawa to call on the Trudeau government to uphold the landmark Krever Inquiry and rescind licenses granted to private, for-profit blood collection clinics that are selling Canadian blood abroad.
Documents obtained through a Freedom of Information request* implicate Health Canada in working with the private blood broker’s unregistered lobbyist for years in the lead up to obtaining operating licenses, despite pan-Canadian opposition. The controversial private clinics were banned from operating in Ontario and Alberta to protect the blood supply.
“These documents demonstrate a wanton disregard for the security of the Canadian blood supply. It is alarming that a lobbyist and the private pharmaceutical industry would be given an all access pass to make policy decisions on behalf of the Canadian public,” said Kat Lanteigne, Executive Director and CoFounder of BloodWatch. “Prime Minister Trudeau must step in and direct Health Canada to rescind licenses granted to Canadian Plasma Resources immediately.”
Canadian Blood Services (CBS), the public agency created in the wake of the Krever Inquiry, reported a decline in voluntary donors where the first private clinic opened in Saskatoon. CBS has issued multiple warnings to Health Canada and provincial governments to end support for the private collectors, citing a major risk to the security of Canada’s blood supply.
“In New Brunswick, we’ve witnessed first-hand how private blood brokers threaten our fragile blood system,” said Paula Doucet, President of the New Brunswick Nurses Union. “Without any public consultation, Health Canada licensed a for-profit clinic in Moncton that is located close to the University, competing directly with our public system for the next generation of blood donors.”
There are plans to open a third private clinic in Saint John, N.B., with more expansion plans for Manitoba, Nova Scotia and B.C.
“The introduction of private, for-profit plasma collection sites is threatening CBS’ ability to collect enough plasma to meet Canadian need,” said Adrienne Silnicki, National Director, Policy and Advocacy, Canadian Health Coalition. “The federal Health Minister must support our public blood collector and reject those trying to profit off the blood of Canadians.”
BloodWatch is calling for an official apology from the Prime Minister to those who received tainted blood, federal recognition of November 26 as the day the Krever Report was tabled in the House of Commons and immediate action to rescind the licenses of all for-profit blood clinics.
An estimated 8,000 lives have been lost due to Canada’s tainted blood tragedy.
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