Privatized blood collection should be banned, says group

Townhall meeting to take place in Abbotsford on Sunday, May 8

Kat Lanteigne

Kat Lanteigne

Playwright Kat Lanteigne courted controversy in 1993 when her high school play “If Men Had Periods” was banned from a scholarship competition while she was attending Abbotsford Senior Secondary.

Twenty-three years later, she is coming home amidst another national controversy as part of a countrywide protest to stop private plasma clinics from opening in B.C.

Lanteigne co-founded BloodWatch.org, a safe blood advocacy organization that upholds the findings of the Krever Inquiry and represents tainted blood survivors.

The organization hosts a free public town hall meeting on Sunday, May 8 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at The Reach Gallery Museum Abbotsford (32388 Veterans Way) to discuss what it says are the risks of allowing blood collection to be privatized and why a ban is needed.

Lanteigne is on a nine-day tour to urge Health Minister Terry Lake and the B.C. Liberals to ban private paid plasma. Ontario and Quebec have already legislated a ban.

Lanteigne says that paying donors for their blood or plasma is in direct contravention to Justice Horace Krever’s landmark inquiry on how to manage a safe Canadian blood system.

The four-year $17 million inquiry recommended that donors should not be paid, blood and blood products should be free, and no part of the national blood operator’s duties should be contracted out to others.

“This has become a major fight against Big Pharma grabbing control over our blood resource,” Lanteigne said.

“Private clinics don’t actually get more blood products for the people of B.C., because they will be exporting our plasma out of the country. It is the big piece of the puzzle that no one gets told. If we don’t protect our public blood system now, we will never get it back and everything that tainted blood survivors fought for will be rendered meaningless – the stakes are very high.”

Lanteigne’s play Tainted, which tells the true story of the tainted blood crisis, premiered in Toronto in 2013.