Today's Eventsno events today
C'est si bon
(Musings on TM news that is so good and not so good)
By Pat Letendre
May's blog is a take-off on cartoonist Gary Clement's weekly feature, 'Week in Review' in Canada's National Post, e.g, Week of Apr. 20-26, 2014. I love them because they capture the week's news with a smile.
The blog's title derives from an old ditty by Eartha Kitt, C'est si bon (It's so good).
The topics include an eclectic selection of news items in TraQ's newsletter in the first quarter of 2014. C'est si bon is an attempt to write shorter blogs. I'd love your feedback. Shorter is so good or not so good? Keep returning because I'll add the odd 'So...' periodically.
Usually, my BBTS blogs are original but, due to unforeseen circumstances, this blog also appears on my other TM blog site. I hope the content is relevant to transfusion professionals worldwide.
1. So creepy
2. So deservingCSTM promotes excellence in TM for Canadians. The 2014 CSTM award recipients are, indeed, deserving. I'm fortunate to know them all.
- Wendy Owens
- Dr. Lucinda Whitman
- Ann Wilson
- Crystal Oko
4. So overdue
Think it's overkill? Think again. See CMA President Dr. Louis Hugo Francescutti's take on doctors and drugs. Big Pharma's influence on docs has stunk for a long time.
5. So predictable
- CBS CEO Graham Sher: Purchased plasma safe,essential
- The article is in response to Payment for plasma bad policy
- After the tainted blood scandals of the 1980s and '90s, Canada created a safe and secure system that is the envy of the world and did it using science, evidence- and risk-based decision making.
- Drs. Ryan Meili and Monica Dutt, the authors of Payment for plasma bad policy,may not understand that blood donation and plasma donation are distinctly different, so Dr. Sher will clarify.
- Whether to allow paid plasma donation is a legitimate public policy debate about Canada's societal values and norms but is not an issue of product safety due to today's system and technologies.
As to the Ontario government's attempt to ban paid plasma, as predicted, the minority government has fallen and with it, all legislation.
6. So sad
George was an icon to TM medical technologists. We will miss him dearly.
- See 2012 interview
The replies below are to comments made on my other TM blog site. Please add your comment to the BBTS site as it's interesting to learn how BBTS members view these issues.
In reply to Anonymous (11 May 2014)
Anonymous finds CBS CEO Dr. Graham Sher's public pronouncements on paid plasma in Canada both confusing and unreliable. Me too.
CEO Sher says that he doesn't want paid plasma clinics to open in Canada but, at the same time, he contends that paid plasma is needed to meet current demands for plasma derivatives in Canada and globally. Canada can only meet 30% of its needs. Moreover, he suggests that, without paid plasma, patients would die.
Dr. Sher's key learning point: Like it or not, patients in Canada and the world need paid plasma.
The flaw in that argument is that Canada has never truly promoted plasma donation. Indeed, CBS closed a plasma collection facility because it was cheaper to buy plasma from the USA and (sadly and stupidly) obfuscated its reasons for the closure.
Dr. Sher also contends that today paid plasma is safe because of 'donor screening and testing, plasma quarantine, and technology that inactivates viruses, and several purification steps.' He's right, as far as it goes.
But this reasoning assumes that no emerging infectious disease agents will appear that may escape the detection, inactivation, and purification steps involved in producing plasma derivatives. It also assumes that manufacturing errors will never occur. And that, with today's system, a disaster like hepatitis C contaminating Rh immune globulin can never again occur.
Perhaps CEO Sher suffers from cognitive dissonance, i.e., discomfort from holding conflicting beliefs. He contends that paid plasma is safe, and patients need paid plasma derivatives, but he doesn't want paid plasma clinics in Canada because CBS's voluntary donation system works well. Huh?
Cognitive dissonance aside, Dr. Sher is a clever man and has CBS spin doctors (communication specialists) advising him. He knows what he's doing. Any obfuscation is covered by emphasizing evidence-based decisions.
Just like Canadian Red Cross medical experts did when rejecting surrogate tests for non-A, non-B hepatitis (now hepatitis C), which resulted in tens of thousands of Canadians being infected with HCV.
Who can argue against evidence and science? Anyone who questions the safety of paid plasma is automatically and conveniently designated as non-scientific.
In reply to Unknown (12 May 2014)
Unknown asked, 'Is there something in it for CBS and Dr Sher in supporting American paid plasma?'
Great question. What follows are possibilities. First, I believe CBS CEO Graham Sher to be an honorable man who mostly believes what he says or, paternalistically, believes he's doing the right thing for Canada by protecting our TM system from non-scientific types.
But it's not that simple. As AABB President it's possible he's drunk the Kool-Aid of American-style transfusion medicine, given the schmoozing he's no doubt done with Big Pharma and the laboratory diagnostic firms who support AABB, as well as with so-called not-for-profit transfusion labs that operate as businesses.
Or maybe he's into Real Politik, focussing on practical rather than ethical issues.
What's in it for CBS to support paid plasma? It prevents CBS from spending money to promote free plasma donation and to build and maintain plasma collection facilities. Both earn brownie points with CBS's provincial paymasters.
What's in it for Graham Sher to support paid plasma? It's about the money, stupid. Money CBS can save by NOT maintaining collection facilities and staff, as above.
In reply to Anonymous (13 May 2014)
Thanks to Anonymous, who supplied a link to yet another lobby group to promote paid plasma in Canada and noted that Canadian Plasma Resources has deep pockets:
- Ontario Plasma Coalition (press release 13 May 2014)
Made up of deeply concerned Ontarians, the Ontario Plasma Coalition was launched to address the provincial government's irresponsible handling of Ontario's plasma supply and its attempts at banning compensated donations with Bill 178. In partnership with Canadian Plasma Resources, the Coalition was formed following thousands of responses received through PlasmaForOntario.ca.Who knew that 1000s of deeply concerned Ontario citizens were practically marching in the streets to protest its irresponsible government's move to ban paid plasma?
Sheesh, you'd think the world would come to an end if Canadian Plasma Resources (CPR) didn't operate its paid plasma collection facility next to a homeless shelter and a centre for addiction and mental health.
CPR built its facilities without Health Canada's approval, at least without its official approval. Who knows what went on behind close doors, including possible collusion by CBS (as in, 'Would you object?' Answer: 'No').
To me, CPR should shove its PR campaign where the sun don't shine. Just kidding!
To follow-up on the 'so' theme, enjoy these renditions of a popular jazz ditty from long, long ago:
As always, the views are mine alone and comments are most welcome.
Pat Letendre is the webmaster for the TraQ website of the BC Provincial Blood Coordinating Office in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Pat specializes in developing transfusion-related websites and managing mailing lists for health professionals. She has extensive experience as an educator and clinical instructor.
View Pat's Full Bio
30 Apr 2017