Some argue for more transparency in donated blood sales

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HONOLULU (AP) — The nonprofit Blood Bank of Hawaii brought in about $20.9 million in revenue in 2013 from selling donated blood, a practice in place by many similar organizations nationwide but that isn't spelled out on its website.

Blood Bank of Hawaii president and CEO Kim-Anh Nguyen says almost 80 percent of the income in 2013 went toward maintaining an expensive practice that most hospitals can't afford to do themselves, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports ( ).

Nguyen, a medical doctor, said she doesn't think it's necessary to tell donors that their donated blood will be sold at prices ranging from well under $100 to several hundred dollars.

"We actually are very forthright with our donors, and we do talk about the Blood Bank of Hawaii having to operate as a business," Nguyen said.

The website has a facts page where they tell donors that their blood is tested and delivered, not sold, to nearby hospitals.

"I think we do tell donors that their blood is tested with over 10 tests, and the cost of those tests is not cheap," Nguyen said.

Minneapolis-based HemaVista is a consultant and supplier for hospitals. Founder and chief executive officer Ben Bowman says more people should know that the blood they donate is sold rather than donated, and that there should be more oversight of this multimillion-dollar industry.

"I think the public needs to know the truth, and the truth today, barring some very minor exceptions, has been hidden from the public," Bowman said in a phone interview.


Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser,

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