The Quest for Liquid Gold: Why Canada Should Provide Remuneration for Plasma Donations

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Christina Manning


Plasma is a protein rich component of blood that is used for lifesaving transfusions and as an essential treatment for individuals with hemophilia and immunodeficiency conditions. Canada has historically relied on a national system of non-remunerated blood donation to collect blood plasma. However, over the past several decades, Canada has become increasingly reliant on purchasing plasma products from countries with plasma remuneration systems to meet increasing demand. Unfortunately, this system is no longer able to consistently accommodate the rapidly growing need for plasma products in Canada. To address the shortage of plasma products, it is time for Canada to re-evaluate the merits of a paid plasma system. Providing remuneration for plasma in Canada is a promising solution for several reasons. First, there is extensive evidence supporting the safety of paid plasma. Second, many countries have implemented successful plasma remuneration programs that have increased the supply of plasma without harming donation rates for whole blood. Third, while the ethical concerns of donor well-being cannot be fully remedied, they can be ameliorated. Instead of relying on other countries to maintain high ethical standards for plasma donors, Canada can take responsibility for plasma donors by constructing a system that addresses issues of consent, while carefully screening and monitoring to ensure donors maintain good health.

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Christina Manning

Faculty of Health Sciences