Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Donating plasma

Donating plasma

My preferred type of gift-giving (considering I don't participate in the typical activities) at this time of year would be blood donation - except that I can only donate blood once every twelve weeks; so today for the first time I gave plasma instead. I can do this every fortnight. I guess I am 3/5 perceived typicality for a plasma donor (Bove, Bednall, Masser, & Buzza, 2011 [behind pay/study-wall]). I have the time available to give... others might find the time if it were recognised as a valid volunteer/participation activity (Is it recognised by Centrelink?).

I like and believe it is important that, in Australia, blood/plasma/platelets are *donated* (ie not *sold* by the human-producer).

I understand that if production of medicinal products from plasma is not in government hands (would that ever have been an option?) that a commercial enterprise would need to have a profit-motive - and yet I am curious as to the *level* of profit that stands to be made by such commercial enterprise [in Australia I understand this is CSL Biotherapies] from my donation. Can anyone suggest a way to discover that?

Another concern I've discovered stems from a threat to Australia's self-sufficiency in blood-product supplies from the Free Trade Agreement between Australia and the United States of America. I read of this in a 2004 submission from the Australian Red Cross Blood Service to the Australian Government - Where stands that threat now?

What would I think/feel if I found that Australia was importing plasma products from companies who buy plasma from humans (who do not then qualify as "donors")? It seems wrong, although I can't pinpoint why... is it just wrong for Australia to buy what we're not allowed, individually, to sell? I don't want that law to change, but so long as it stands, I think that restriction should be respected in the other direction - that others (government, doctors, companies) in Australia should not be allowed to buy products obtained through payment (or reimbursement) to the original individual human supplier.

(Behind pay-wall):
Bove, L. L., Bednall, T., Masser, B., & Buzza, M. (2011). Understanding the plasmapheresis donor in a voluntary, nonremunerated environment. Transfusion, 51(11), 2411-2424. doi:10.1111/j.1537-2995.2011.03168.x

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