News / Calgary

Alberta Liberal Leader doesn’t support NDP bill banning blood sales

The province currently purchases most of its blood plasma from international markets, something Dr. David Swann says won't be easily replaced domestically

Dr. David Swann said since Alberta purchases most of its plasma from international markets who pay their donors, the province won't be able to maintain the same capacity domestically.

THE CANADIAN PRESS

Dr. David Swann said since Alberta purchases most of its plasma from international markets who pay their donors, the province won't be able to maintain the same capacity domestically.

Alberta Liberal Leader Dr. David Swann isn’t supporting a new bill from the NDP that would ban for-profit blood and plasma sales because of concerns it will not ensure a safer, more sustainable plasma supply for Albertans.

“Canada deserves a safe, sustainable supply of plasma. I am not convinced Bill 3 helps us get there,” Swann said in a news release on Tuesday.

Earlier this month, Minister of Health Sarah Hoffman tabled Bill 3, the Voluntary Blood Donations Act, which would ban for-profit donations of blood or plasma within the province (with the exception of the not-for-profit Canadian Blood Services, which already manages blood product collection and distribution to Canadian hospitals).

Hoffman said blood donation should not be viewed as a business venture.

“Some things are too important to leave up to the private market,” the minister said at the time.

Currently, the majority of the plasma products in Alberta are imported from international markets, which Swann said will be difficult to maintain under the new legislation.

“Alberta currently imports 80 per cent of its plasma products from clinics in the United States, which pay donors,” Swann said. 

“There is absolutely no way for the government to replace this capacity with volunteer donors.”

He said maintaining a healthy blood plasma supply for Albertans will be difficult without the ability to purchase it. 

“Systems allowing for paid plasma donations have had success in other jurisdictions without any of the adverse effects that the NDP are raising as justification for this bill,” Swann argued.

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