The United States is one of the few countries in the world where plasma donors are paid and it is responsible for 70% of the global supply of plasma. If you add in the other countries that allow donors to be paid, including Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Czechia, the paid-donor countries account for nearly 90% of the total supply.
Countries that follow the WHOs guidance to rely exclusively on voluntary, unpaid donors all have shortages of plasma (hmmm…what’s the WHOs track record like?) So what do these countries do? Import plasma from the paid-donor countries. The United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and some Canadian provinces, for example, prohibit paid donors and they import a majority of their plasma from paid donor countries. (See chart at right).
As Nobel prize winner Al Roth puts it, in his gentle way:
I find confusing the position of some countries that compensating domestic plasma donors is immoral, but filling the resulting shortage by purchasing plasma from the US is ok.
The UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada can afford their moral hypocrisy but their decision to forbid paid-donors reduces the world supply of plasma driving up the price and harming people in poorer countries.
I have cribbed from an excellent new report by Peter Jaworski, Bloody Well Pay Them: The Case for Voluntary Remunerated Plasma Collections.
Previous MR posts on plasma.