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Blood Collections to Be Videotaped
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The Ministry of Health has ordered all blood plasma collection centers across the country to videotape plasma collections in a bid to stamp out the illegal blood trade.

This underground industry was at the center of a massive HIV outbreak in Henan Province in the mid-1990s.

The surveillance system is scheduled to be in place by the end of October. Every plasma collection is to be videotaped to help guard against illegal transactions and other forms of malpractice.

Such lapses are closely related to the fake plasma-based product scandals that have surfaced in recent times, MOH spokesman Mao Qun'an said at a regular news briefing yesterday.

In one case, 2,000 bottles of fake blood protein were discovered in Jilin Province, according to the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA), China's drug watchdog.

The fakes could have been deadly, particularly if a patient were allergic to the materials used, medical experts warned.

There are currently 33 companies producing plasma-based products in China, according to Xinhua News Agency.

Last year, these companies were commissioned by the MOH and SFDA to set up and operate plasma collection stations, which were previously under the charge of medical authorities.

Because these companies collect plasma to make products for profit, they tend to compensate donors.

Industry insiders worry this arrangement could hurt the quality of such products as companies could be tempted to resort to illegal collections in order to increase their profits in an otherwise competitive industry.

Some collect or provide plasma without testing it properly, and some accept plasma from donors using assumed identities. Some have accepted blood from a single donor more than once in a six-month period, contrary to the time restrictions laid out in the country's blood collection law, said Mao.

Plasma collection stations in Shanxi and Henan provinces were shut down for engaging in such practices, Mao said.

(China Daily July 11, 2007)

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