In 2017, Canada's New Democratic Party (NDP) passed a bill that would protect Alberta's voluntary blood and plasma supply from being privatized. In other words, it would prohibit international plasma companies from establishing facilities in Alberta that would pay voluntary donors for donating blood or plasma.
Now, a new bill has passed three readings in the Alberta Legislature which would repeal the protections, allowing private plasma facilities in Alberta to compensate blood and plasma donors.
Bill 204, or Voluntary Blood Donations Repeal Act, was proclaimed in July by a private member of NDP, Tany Yao, who represents the electoral district of Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo.
As is the case with any bill, some people oppose its legislation while others support it.
Its critics are criticizing the Canadian government for privatizing yet another public service. They believe, given the shift of accountability, the government has prioritized profit over what is actually safe for Albertans.
However, the people who support it recognize how it could make Alberta self-reliant when it comes to manufacturing life-saving therapies based on donated plasma. This seems a fair point given that Alberta annually spends $150 million on plasma therapies imported from the US.
A small sum of money, an incentive or compensation, for the time and commitment of donors could also do wonders for the local plasma supply, helping create a reservoir that can be tapped in the future, in case there is a shortage of plasma, like during a pandemic.
Though protests have taken place, most bills that pass three readings end up being legislated. Could this be an exception? We will know for sure in a few months.
Learn more about plasma at www.iplasma.life