Ontario vows to shut private clinics that pay for blood plasma

Health Minister Deb Matthews says Canadian Plasma Services has been told it will not be given a licence to open clinics in Toronto and Hamilton that would pay people $25 to donate plasma.

Health Minister says Canadian Plasma Services targets 'low income neighbourhoods'

Health Canada says payment for blood donations is currently allowed in all provinces and territories with the exception of Quebec. (Canadian Press)

The Ontario government is vowing to shut down any private clinics that would pay people to donate blood plasma.

Health Minister Deb Matthews says Canadian Plasma Services has been told it will not be given a licence to open clinics in Toronto and Hamilton that would pay people $25 to donate plasma.

A health ministry inspector is expected to visit one of the company's clinics today, and Matthews says they are not allowed to open, even for training purposes.

She says if the company tries to operate without a licence, the province will take every step necessary to shut them down.

Matthews says the plasma collected by the private company is processed into drug products for the global market and is not used for transfusions in Canada.

Health Minister: company targeting 'low income neighbourhoods'

However, she says paying people poses a risk to Canada's voluntary blood donation system, and accuses Canadian Plasma Resources of targeting the poor.

"If you look at where they're located, there's no question that they're going into low income neighbourhoods," said Matthews. "It's very clear what their business model is."

Canadian Plasma Resources was not immediately available for comment Tuesday, but in a recent statement said paid donations help meet the demand for plasma.

"The fact is Canada's need for plasma significantly exceeds our ability to produce it," the company said in a statement last week. "There is no evidence that compensating plasma donors weakens the voluntary donor system."

Matthews introduced regulations last week to prohibit payments to people who donate blood and blood products that she said will be in force within days.

"It still has to go through the next stage, but that will happen very quickly so that it will be illegal for them to offer payment for blood or plasma," she said.

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