Vida Panitch
Carleton University
L. Chad Horne
Northwestern University
A private, for-profit company has recently opened a pair of plasma donation centres in Canada, at which donors can be compensated up to $50 for their plasma. This has sparked a nation-wide debate around the ethics of paying plasma donors. Our aim in this paper is to shift the terms of the current debate away from the question of whether plasma donors should be paid and toward the question of who should be paying them. We consider arguments against paying plasma donors grounded in concerns about exploitation, commodification, and the introduction of a profit motive. We find them all to be normatively inconclusive, but also overbroad in light of Canada’s persistent reliance on plasma from paid donors in the United States. While we believe that there are good reasons to oppose allowing a private company to profit from Canada’s blood supply, these concerns can be addressed if payment is dispensed instead by a public, not-for-profit agency. In short, we reject profiting from plasma while we endorse paying for plasma; we therefore conclude in favour of a new Canadian regime of public sector plasma collection and compensation.
Keywords Commodification   Exploitation   Plasma   Blood Donation   Profit
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
DOI 10.7202/1058139ar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 65,657
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals.Immanuel Kant - 1785/2002 - Oxford University Press.
The Ethical Limitations of the Market.Elizabeth Anderson - 1990 - Economics and Philosophy 6 (2):179.
Noxious Markets Versus Noxious Gift Relationships.Hallie Liberto - 2013 - Social Theory and Practice 39 (2):265-287.
Constraint, Consent, and Well-Being in Human Kidney Sales.P. M. Hughes - 2009 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 34 (6):606-631.

View all 8 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Paying Donors and the Ethics of Blood Supply.P. Rodriguez del Pozo - 1994 - Journal of Medical Ethics 20 (1):31-35.


Added to PP index

Total views
13 ( #753,463 of 2,462,336 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
3 ( #223,344 of 2,462,336 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes