Protesters rally for ban on paid blood and plasma donations in Victoria

A protest calling for a ban on paid blood and plasma donations in B.C. took place on the steps of the B.C. Legislature this afternoon.

Survivors of the tainted blood tragedy were in Victoria with the BC Health Coalition to meet with provincial leaders.

They want to make sure the B.C. government doesn’t allow a clinic, which would pay donors who give blood and plasma, to open in this province.

Adam Lynes-Ford with the BC Health Coalition says Ontario and Quebec have already introduced legislation that would ban the practice, and they want to see B.C. follow the same route.

READ MORE: Pay for plasma: The economics behind paid and unpaid systems

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In the 1980s, an estimated 30,000 Canadians were infected with Hepatitis C and HIV during the so-called tainted blood scandal.

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Lynes-Ford says the inquiry that looked into the scandal found that blood is a public resource and should not be sold in Canada.

The coalition says banning the sale of plasma is the only way to protect the Canadian blood system from ‘predatory profiteers.’

“It is also an ethical consideration. In Canada, we don’t buy and sell human tissue,” says Lynes-Ford. “This is a thin edge of a slippery slope if we go down that route.”

Currently, Saskatchewan is the only province that has a plasma collection clinic.

In March, Health Minister Terry Lake said he was open to allowing a pay-for-plasma clinic in British Columbia.

READ MORE: Controversial plasma collection clinic now open in Saskatoon

Kat Lanteigne, who co-founded, wants to make sure that Canadian Blood Services is the only service that can collect blood on behalf of Canadians.

“The thing that people really need to understand here in B.C. is private blood collectors don’t guarantee us any more access to that blood or plasma product, because they need to make a profit and diversify who they sell to.”

BC Health Coalition is encouraging British Columbians to message Health Minister Terry Lake about the issue on their website.

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A town hall meeting will be held in Victoria tonight, with meetings in Kelowna, Parksville and Kamloops later this week.

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