Blood money: controversial Moncton blood business offers donors up to $100

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Controversial for-profit plasma clinic now fully operational in Moncton

Canadian Blood Plasma Resources is booking appointments at its new clinic in Moncton as it moves forward, despite alarm bells, with plans to pay people for their blood.

Health Canada inspectors will observe the company in operation before granting a federal licence to operate.

Meanwhile, members of the New Brunswick Health Coalition continue to oppose the for-profit clinic and will take their concerns to Moncton city council on Monday.

"They're going to exploit people and they're going to exploit the most vulnerable in our society," coalition co-chair Jean-Claude Basque told Information Morning Moncton.

According to the Canadian Plasma Resources website, people who donate plasma can receive as much as $100, which is credited to a non-transferrable Visa card.

"A qualified donor can donate plasma once a week at the most," the website said.

No one at Canadian Plasma Resources has answered a CBC request for more information.

Volunteer system in jeopardy

Basque worries Canadian Blood Services donations will decrease with the opening of the private clinic.

The New Brunswick Health Coalition continues to ask Health Minister Victor Boudreau to step in, as a couple of other provinces have.

Boudreau has indicated he's not troubled by the blood-for-money scheme, although Canadian Blood Services has said there are signs it is losing voluntary donations to private clinics elsewhere.  

"We're going against our own Canadian Blood Services, which is funded by our government, so it's really hard to understand why Victor Boudreau is thinking that is a good idea," Basque said.

Basque is also concerned about the people targeted by Canadian Plasma Resources.

"There's two main targets — it's young people, and we know in the Moncton area there's a number of universities ... and the other [target] is people living in poverty, people that are desperate and are prepared to sell their plasma so that they can make ends meet."

While Basque understands Moncton council has little influence over Canadian Plasma Resources, he hopes that by speaking at Monday's meeting he will raise awareness about the issue.

"We need to bring pressure on the federal government and the province ... I'm not sure how many people know this clinic is happening in Moncton," he said.

The New Brunswick Health Coalition continues to ask Premier Brian Gallant to pass a law prohibiting payment for blood or plasma donations. Quebec and Ontario already forbid the clinics, which can sell their plasma on international markets.