November 22, 2017
Internal documents show Health Canada working hand-in-glove with a private company to push a donation model the Krever inquiry warned against. Has it failed in its role as regulator?
In February 2016, Canadian Plasma Resources (CPR) opened its first paid plasma collection centre in Saskatoon with a splashy media event attended by then-Saskatchewan health minister Dustin Duncan. That an enterprise paying Canadians for their blood was setting up in Saskatchewan, the cradle of the country’s publicly funded health-care system, was only one jarring detail accompanying CPR’s arrival. For years, safe-blood activists, led by BloodWatch, and medical groups had opposed CPR, concerned about the commercialization of the country’s blood system. The company first made headlines in 2013 when it was poised to open three collection sites in Ontario—one beside a men’s mission in Toronto, another next to methadone clinic in Hamilton. Protest and political debate ensued. In December 2014, Ontario passed legislation banning payment for blood, as Québec had done two decades earlier.