By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday, July 24, 2014
Bills to safeguard blood, chemo drugs to be reintroduced in Ontario legislature
Ontario is taking aim once again at two pay-for-plasma clinics in Toronto, dusting off legislation to ban paid donations two weeks after Health Ministry inspectors swooped in to seize records at the facilities.
The bill from Health Minister Eric Hoskins is being combined with another proposed law aimed at preventing another chemotherapy “under-dosing” scandal by having hospital pharmacies inspected and licensed.
Hoskins revived the legislation — first introduced before the June 12 election campaign but never passed in the minority parliament — on Tuesday saying it will be a “safeguard” against tainted blood products and troubles with the mixing of cancer medications that 1,202 cancer patients received.
The businessman operating Canadian Plasma Resources clinics said the raid has virtually halted operations in which subjects who qualified were paid $25 to give blood in a “research trial.”
“Since they took our documents we’re now temporarily stopped,” Barzin Bahardoust told the Star.
His company has been waging a battle with the government for months, with the province approving new regulations and insisting Canadian Plasma requires a laboratory licence.
Bahardoust rejects that claim, hence the government’s push for legislation that Hoskins said will make it “unequivocal” that paying for blood donations or accepting payment is illegal.
“We stand firmly against payment for blood or plasma donations,” Hoskins added, noting the 1997 Krever Commission recommended against paid donations to prevent vulnerable people with diseases from selling their blood for cash.
The commission examined the 1980s tainted blood scandal — which left 30,000 Canadians with HIV and hepatitis C from questionable donations, some from prison inmates in the United States. (Source: Toronto Star)