Canadian Plasma Resources in Saskatoon opened its doors last month, offering people $25 gift cards for making blood donations.

Canadian Blood Services says it collects enough plasma — the fluid blood cells float in — from volunteers for blood transfusions across the country, but it can't get enough to meet the demand for plasma-derived drugs. 

It buys from U.S. companies that use paid donors. Seventy per cent of the plasma products used in Canada come from the U.S.

Many voices in the medical community would like to secure a domestic supply of plasma instead of importing it from other countries.

But critics, including the federal NDP, say paid blood donations are a step toward privatizing health care and could lead to another tainted blood scandal. In the 1980s, about 2,000 Canadians were infected with HIV and many thousands more were infected with hepatitis C from tainted blood products. The inquiry into the scandal pointed to paid blood donations as a problem.

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