Volume 34, Issue 1, Spring 2020
James Stacey Taylor
The Ethics and Politics of Blood Plasma Donation
The Case in Canada
Legal prohibitions on the financial compensation of donors are frequently justified by appealing either to concerns about patient safety or to concerns about the putatively unethical nature of such compensation. But jurisdictions that legally prohibit the financial compensation of donors routinely import plasma that has been collected from financially compensated donors—and they do so knowing its origins. I outline some possible ways in which this puzzle could be resolved and find them all wanting. Focusing on Canada I draw upon public documents to explain how many provinces came to have its apparently puzzling approach to plasma procurement. I then argue that the actions of those who support this approach to plasma procurement are immoral.