Plasma is a component of blood containing antibodies, vital proteins, nutrients, and coagulants. Plasma is in high demand and there are a number of for-profit plasma centers in Texas that solicit plasma “donations”. The plasma donors are compensated, not for the plasma, but for their time.
The plasma collected at these centers, which are owned by pharmaceutical companies, is exported to different countries around the world and used in the manufacture of drugs for various conditions. Plasma collection and distribution is a multi-billion dollar industry with the U.S. being the major player. In fact, the U.S. has become known as “the OPEC of plasma collections”.
Part of the reason that industry is thriving in the U.S. are the regulations regarding the frequency of donations. In the U.S. donors are allowed to give plasma up to 104 times a year, a number far in excess of most other countries.
There is a very big difference between non-profit blood collection centers such as the American Red Cross and the for-profit plasma centers. The Red Cross allows a person to donate only once every 28 days, to a maximum of 13 times per year. The for-profit commercial plasma centers, however, not only allow two donations a week, they actively encourage it with cash incentives for “donating” plasma twice a week. Some even pay a bonus if the donor recruits friends or family.
Contrary to the assurances of the plasma centers that donating plasma is safe, there can be serious health consequences to frequent plasma donations.
Apart from the common side effects of fatigue and dehydration, plasma donors have reported fainting, unconsciousness, bruising and discomfort, infection, arterial puncture, anemia, chills, shortness of breath, nerve damage, numbness and tingling of the lips, fingers, or toes. Frequent donations of plasma can also damage the donor’s immune system, making them susceptible to bacterial, viral, and fungal infections.
For-profit plasma centers are big business, and some of their “donors” are getting sick.
If you or someone you know has fallen victim to the serious health consequences of frequent plasma donations, contact The Barrera Law Firm at (956) 428-2822 or submit our online form.