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Welcome to the wonderful world of blood donation. Around the world giving blood is seen as a symbol of generosity – one of the noblest acts in society. But the reality is different altogether.”

Healthcare is the perfect money-making industry. Our willingness to pay for available therapies basically, especially for our loved ones, knows no bounds.

I watched a video clip from  Marie Maurisse, Francois Pilet and Pierre Monnard. I have provided a transcript of it for you.

At the heart of this business – plasma. A yellow liquid rich in proteins. It’s the main component of blood. It’s more expensive than oil.

It’s the exploitation of man by man. It is sometimes called “New cannibalism” because by negotiating a price, we accept this system of enabling the rich to profit from the poor.

“An abomination. It’s disgusting.”

We decided to explore a little-known area than the health industry.

The blood trade.

Our investigation took us to France, Germany, and the U.S.

“They don’t like us to interview the donors”

Blood is a quite peculiar juice. Health is an industry and blood donations are subject to the laws of the market.

Before giving blood they must fill out a medical questionnaire and give their informed consent. In particular, there is one line at the end of the form – a sentence in small letters, “I am aware that some components of my donation may be used for the production of drugs“.

Only a few donors read this line though is crucial.

In reality, most of the blood is sold through private companies – something the Red Cross doesn’t advertise.

“We receive 320,000 donations a year. These are full donations that contain all the blood components, including plasma.”
“What do you do with this plasma?”
“Unlike the other blood components, only 20% of the plasma is used directly in the hospitals. This 20% is used for patients who have lost great quantities of blood and need transfusions. The remaining 80% is used by the plasma fractionation industry, which produces drugs derived from blood.”

The plasma fractionation industry – these are the pharmaceutical companies that buy 80,000 litres of plasma from the Red Cross each year. The humanitarian institution makes merely 10 million swiss francs from this sale. Are the donors aware of it?

“Do you know what will happen to the blood you’ve donated”?
“I must admit I’m rather naïve in this regard, I haven’t really looked into this kind of thing. When I hear the term “blood donation’, I associate it with my giving blood. Well I’m just hoping that my blood will be used in the hospitals not too far from home. This is the kind of innocent image I have of blood donating
.” ~ Carlos, donor

First discovery, the majority of the blood is sold to pharmaceutical industries. The industry is so interested in Carlos’s blood for a specific reason – it’s liquid part called plasma contains sort-after proteins. They are used to make very expensive and profitable drugs.

Who are the players behind this industry? We decided to track the plasma trade.

“Welcome to CSL Plasma. Typically, 57% of all blood volume is made up of plasma. Plasma is a straw-coloured liquid portion of the whole blood that transports water and nutrients to all cells in the body. It is composed of approximately 90% water and 10% protein.”

The plasma industry is huge and a handful of companies share the world market. (01) (02)

“Octapharma’s raw material is produced by the perfect bioreactor developed over millions of years of evolution – the human body.”

For these companies, plasma is nothing but a raw material.

And very lucrative too.

The professional term is ‘fractionation’. The name of the procedure that transforms donors plasma into drugs. To do this, they collect, freeze and mix thousands of litres of human plasma. These companies control a market which is worth 17 Gillion* dollars, and are growing steadily.

Here is the full video,

 

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