CBC.ca (Canada) (05.16.2013)
Aids Weekly Plus
Canadians who contracted HIV and hepatitis C virus through tainted blood transfusions during the 1980s and the victims’ families are protesting the proposed licensing of three private plasma clinics in Toronto. The clinics’ opponents fear another “tainted blood tragedy” if the federal and Ontario governments allow the clinics to offer payment for plasma.
Activist Michael McCarthy, who received a contaminated transfusion in the 1980s, urged Health Canada to hold open meetings regarding the clinic licensing and asked the province to pass legislation prohibiting payments for blood. Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews requested that Health Canada delay approval until she could consult with other provinces. Health Canada Spokesperson Steve Outhouse stated that Health Canada has consulted with tainted blood stakeholders and will open the consultations for public comment. Health Canada also has planned public hearings, but the provinces will make the final decision about payment for plasma, according to Outhouse.
Matthews affirmed that plasma contains proteins that hospitals and pharmaceutical companies buy for disease treatment. Cangene, a Winnipeg-based drug company, has been licensed for decades to buy plasma used in manufacturing products.
Justice Horace Krever’s four-year inquiry into the tainted blood tragedy, from1993 to 1997, resulted in 50 recommendations, including stricter rules and no-fault compensation for victims.