Thursday, July 17, 2008

Regulatory Trouble at Red Cross

On July 17, 2008, the New York Times reported that the Food & Drug Administration continues to have concerns about the American Red Cross' blood collection activities.  Though the Red Cross is well known for its half a billion dollars per year in disaster aide, it actually generated more than $2 billion last year in revenue from its blood collection activities.  In fact, according to the NYT, the Red Cross controls more than 43% of the nation's blood supply.  Here is an excerpt from the article:

The problems, described in more than a dozen publicly available F.D.A. reports — some of which cite hundreds of lapses — include shortcomings in screening donors for possible exposure to diseases; failures to spend enough time swabbing arms before inserting needles; failures to test for syphilis; and failures to discard deficient blood.

In some cases, the lapses have put the recipients of blood at risk for diseases like hepatitis, malaria and syphilis. But according to the food and drug agency, the Red Cross has repeatedly failed to investigate the results of its mistakes, meaning there is no reliable record of whether recipients were harmed by the blood it collected.

For the entire article see "Problems Persist with Red Cross Blood Services" in the July 17, 2008, issue of New York Times.


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