Canadians have always donated blood out of the goodness of their hearts in an honest desire to help their fellow Canadians. Not so everywhere and in the United States it is customary to sell your blood to the blood bank. Some have regarded this as a regular source of income and as you can imagine they are not always the most healthy and hygienic section of society. Many have said that collecting blood from paid donors by for profit clinics is dangerous, and often those who sold their blood were drug addicts infected with HIV/Hepatitis C which they passed on through transfusions. After the Canadian blood scandal of the 1980s when as many as 30,000 Canadians were infected through the blood bank, one of the recommendations was that donors of blood products should not be paid.
Enter Canadian Plasma Resources, a company that wants to pay donors for their blood, primarily for manufacturing plasma products for the treatment of patients for certain medical conditions. Canadian Plasma Resources (CPR) planned to invest several million dollars in Ontario to open donor clinics in downtown Toronto. The government of Ontario, in their wisdom, drove the company out of Ontario by passing legislation to ban paying people for their blood and plasma.
Quebec also bans paid donor clinics.
CPR was however, able to find a Province that would give them the go-ahead. That Province was Saskatchewan and a collection clinic was opened in Saskatoon.
On March 7th, a group hosted by Blood Watch, a reputable group which includes the WHO, presented their case opposed to paid plasma donation, on Parliament Hill. Numerous positions were put forward in support of their position, including the fact that the lure of payment could be an incentive to lie about risk factors.
The structure and management of Canadian Plasma Resources needs to be carefully examined before its policies and relationships can even be considered as bone fide health product manufacturers. Owned 100% by Exapharma., Barzin Bahardoust and CPR has faced problems over its ties to Iran. The Federal Court recently upheld a a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) decision to deny a work permit to Ramin Fallah, a shareholder in Exa Pharma Inc., who had been hired as an executive. His former employer Fanavari Azmayeshgahi, has been identified in open sources as being an entity of weapons of mass destruction concern.
Another alleged link to Iran's nuclear program is through Canada Plasma's business partner with the German pharmaceutical company Biotest AG which has processing plants in the U.S. and Germany. It has ventures with a company which is on a list of Iranian companies Britain considers at risk of using exports for weapons of mass destruction proliferation. The founder of Exa Pharma is also founder of a company that has a joint venture with Biotest.
I don't know about you, but I certainly don't want any control over our Canadian blood supply or plasma products by a questionable group that has some sort of relationship with Iranian groups who might rather kill us than save us.
This issue requires careful investigation, despite Dr. Bahardoust's statement, "While the majority of our shareholders are proud members of the Iranian-Canadian community,including myself, Exa Pharma and Canadian Plasma Resources do not conduct business in the republic of Iran. Our sole focus is to collect plasma in Canada and manufacture it into products to be sold in the Canadian market to treat Canadian patients."
There will be more. Meanwhile if you have any opinions at all, what say you?