Quebec in Dire Need of Plasma Donors

Quebec in Dire Need of Plasma Donors

Quebec City (Quebec) 26 January 2015 – A product we don’t hear too much about in our everyday lives is plasma; a product separated from blood that can be used for countless medical purposes against many diseases and long term ailments. Scientists are finding that plasma can be used to control more and more auto-immune illnesses.

Because of the increasing demand for the product, Héma-Québec, Québec’s blood donor services, is reaching out to the population to attract more blood and plasma donors. At the present time only 15% of Québec hospital’s requirements for plasma come from the province itself. Quebec buys 85% of its plasma supply from the United States at about $190 (depending on supply and demand) a litre, which is an upsetting statistic when you take into account that if there were more local donors, the tables could be turned around and the province could be less dependent on external supplies.

Right now Québec collects about 55,000 litres of plasma a year and they would like to increase that amount to 200,000 litres by 2020. Unlike a blood donation, which can only be given after a 56 day interval, plasma can be extracted about every six days from the human body which would allow volunteers to give plasma at least 52 times a year. Héma-Québec would like to see donors make an average of 8 donations a year, a far cry from 52, but enough to increase the production by 30%.

A new machine, already in use in several Héma-Québec facilities, can separate the plasma from the blood during the donation which saves a lot of time, administration and consequently cost to the province. The donation by “aphaeresis” (as it’s called) extracts 500mL to 700mL of plasma as compared to a regular blood donation which only yields 250mL.

Quebec had considered at one time compensating donors for their blood or plasma, which is common in the USA and some provinces in Canada, but the Civil Code of Québec prohibits the payment for any biological product, meaning the province can only rely on the generosity of its 325,000 blood donors.

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