Blood donors angry over profits

A number of blood donors have called on the blood collection agency Sanquin to be more open about its commercial activities, the Volkskrant reports on Wednesday. In particular they want to know how much money the company makes from donated blood.

‘We give blood for humane reasons, not to serve the pharmaceutical industry,’ Charles Disch, chairman of the dissident donors’ organisation told the paper. ‘Sanquin is not transparent when it comes to the commercial value of blood, and that is strange for a foundation that relies on voluntarily-donated blood from unpaid donors.’
Donors have been unhappy about Sanquin since it emerged that its top three directors earned a combined €800,000 last year.
Sanquin’s management board chairman Theo Buunen told the paper he was worried that some donors were turning their backs on the organisation. ‘They could include people with extremely rare blood types, which would be bad for the people who depend on them.’ He denied that the organisation made a profit on donated blood. ‘We are a foundation and all our earnings stay within the agency,’ he said.
In 2005, some 464,000 people were on Sanquin’s books as blood donors. The foundation made €11m profit on a turnover of €300m. Sanquin refused to state how much it earns from blood plasma used to produce medicines because it was commercially sensitive, but said only surplus products were sold to the pharmaceutical industry.

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