Philosophers Write In Support of Compensating Plasma Donors


A group of philosophers and economists have published an open letter to Expert Panel on Immune Globulin Product Supply and Related Impacts in Canada opposing legislation that would  make it illegal to pay people for blood plasma donations.The letter can be found here and a brief summary of its central arguments here.

From the letter:

We respond to the ethical arguments offered in favour of the Acts: that the compensatory model would result in wrongful exploitation (§2); that the compensatory model would promote the view that human beings, their bodies, or subparts thereof, are mere commodities (§3); and that the compensatory model would incentivize donation for personal gain over donation from altruistic motives (§4).

We agree with Health Canada, Canadian Blood Services, and all major medical oversight bodies that there are no safety issues associated with PDMPs [plasma-derived medicinal products], including Ig [immune globulin], made with paid donors (§5). With regard to the security of Canada’s supply of PDMPs, including Ig, we note that it has been and currently is overwhelmingly dependent upon the compensatory model, and that this is likely to continue well into the future. Given this fact, we note that the goal of having a sufficient quantity of PDMPs, including Ig, is undermined by the Acts (§6). Given the moral urgency of increasing the supply of PDMPs, including Ig, and the weakness of the economic and ethical arguments thus far presented against the compensatory model, we conclude that the Acts are not justified (§7).

The letter was originally authored by David Faraci (Georgetown, UNC) and Peter M. Jaworski (Georgetown), who are the founders of the website Donation Ethics.

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