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Canadian Blood Services in talks around paid donations of plasma as supply dwindles

The organization says the number of people who donate blood regularly dropped by 31,000 during the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving it with the smallest donor base in a decade.
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Canadian Blood Services (CBS) says it's in talks with companies that pay donors for plasma as it faces a decrease in collections.

The blood-collection agency issued a statement on Friday saying it is in “ongoing discussion with governments and the commercial plasma industry” on how to more than double domestic plasma collection to 50 per cent of supply.

Canadian Blood Services has previously cautioned that letting companies trade cash for plasma — a practice banned in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec — could funnel donors away from voluntary giving.

The agency issued a plea earlier this week for donors to book and keep appointments, noting collections have been decreasing since July 1 despite a constant need for plasma in transfusions for surgery, cancer patients and accident victims.

The organization says the number of people who donate blood regularly dropped by 31,000 during the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving it with the smallest donor base in a decade.

The agency has opened five new plasma donor centres in the last few years, with six more planned by 2024 in an effort to draw 25 per cent of its supply from Canadian donors, but it says “more needs to be done” to reach the 50 per cent threshold, including potentially working with private partners.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 13, 2022.

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