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Cash 'threatens search for fresh blood'

The Local · 14 Jun 2012, 10:17

Published: 14 Jun 2012 10:17 GMT+02:00

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Despite a European law banning payments for blood donors, some private clinics, universities and pharmaceutical companies are known to pay donors. They pass the payments – normally around €25 – off as expenses, said DRK spokesman Friedrich-Ernst Düppe.

In the past this competition would not been too much of a concern, he said – but high unemployment and poverty levels were now making the paid donation schemes more attractive.

“€25 is three times the daily allowance that someone on unemployment benefits gets. You don't have to say anything more than that.

“Covering a parking ticket or travel costs would be permissible, but €25 in cash just is not,” he said.

The DRK used the World Blood Donor Day on Thursday to promote how important giving blood is – and to warn that reserves are only just enough to cover those in need, such as cancer patients and accident victims.

Young people need to start donating giving blood, he said. At the moment, Düppe said the country's older regular donors give far more blood than the young.

On average, a regular, older, donor offers up their arm three to five times a year. A regular young donor goes, on average, less than two times a year.

But the country’s population is ageing, and will thus need more blood, as well as be less able to fill the reserves. If more young people do not start coming forward to replace the older generation of dedicated donors, Germany could end up with a shortage.

“We would need two or three times the number of young people that are donating now to replace people when they become too old to do it,” Düppe said.

At the moment, around three percent of Germans are active blood donors, which Düppe said was just about enough. More would, of course, be better and the DRK is working on how to get more people to sign up.

And although the DRK does not offer donors money, Düppe explained that there were plenty of other positives aside from the cash. Donors automatically find out their blood type and are screened for illness, for example.

Story continues below…

“Anyone can donate over the age of 18 and under the age of 71,” he added.

There are restrictions though, from the logical ones, such as not taking blood from people who are sick – to the inexplicable, such as the ban on homosexuals from donating blood in Germany.

DAPD/The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:09 June 14, 2012 by TheWonderer
First of all, life, organs and blood should not be sold but donated - they are priceless anyway.

Compensation for expenses such as parking fees is okay, but if you pay people, the wrong ones are attracted: Being a donor since many years, I have been sent away a few times when I revealed in the questionaire that I just had a flu the week before or took an Aspirin that day. When not paid, that's no difference.

But when people get paid and head for the money, they may conceal all that may have them rejected - and that is bad.

Of course you may say where is the problem about an Aspirin (just as I did years ago) - but when a cancer-patient w/o a working immunal system gets blood with a remainder of flu-virus in it or a bleeder gets Aspirin-contaminated blood, this may just make the difference... :-(

I still prefer giving my blood for free - in order not to attract addict who desperately need the money or suchlike.

The Wonderer
12:30 June 14, 2012 by Karl_Berlin
Agree with the above comment, but this does shed a little light on the growing poverty in Germany. I might be wrong, but I suspect most are probably not drug addicts but simply looking for a little extra cash. And you can't blame people for wanting to survive and doing what they can to do so. Assuming that they have no conscience is also wrong in my opinion. Sure, some might lie when ill to get the cash, but surely the blood is checked anyway, oder (maybe I am wrong here, but I would certainly hope it is checked and that random strangers are not just simply believed).
13:36 June 14, 2012 by TheWonderer
You are partly right.

Blood is checked - but not all things can be tracked (e. g. due to incubation-times). So you are also given a card (anonymously, but connected to your blood/bag) where you can check whether you are part of a risk group (specified there) or not and whether your blood can be used - or not.

Reason: If your co-workers, friends, family etc. go to give blood as a group, there may be group-pressure on you to join. In order for you to be able to say you join in, you get the chance to "tick off" the blood when alone in the cabin.

But this requires that you will not loose anything.

The very moment money is involved, people want to have it - and they may not disclose all information necessary.
13:40 June 14, 2012 by ChrisRea
In Germany the collected blood is tested for:

- Hepatitis -A, -B and -C plus Parvovirus B19;

- HIV infections;

- Syphilis;

- Antibodies.

(Ref: http://www.drk-blutspende.de/bildung-und-wissen/wissen/blutbild_inklusive.php)

I believe that the lies in the questionnaires will be found, but at a great expense (collection costs are significant). Normally the liars should be banned, but I am not sure if the hospitals are ready to do that.

In case of people desperately needing money, even a parking fee would look attractive, so I am not sure that lowering the benefit will increase quality.

Anyway, the German Red Cross is not complaining about people lying in the questionnaires (hence poor quality blood), but getting less donors, because they prefer to go to universities, private clinics and pharma companies.

So the issue is actually to get more people to donate blood. Sadly, the only really efficient way is to ask the relatives and friends from somebody who is already in need of blood.

Maybe companies with more than, let's say, 20 employees might be convinced to host blood donation sessions through a mobile collection unit. Luckily, in Germany (as opposed to other countries), the donors do not get an extra holiday (so the donation bear no expense to the employer).
14:58 June 14, 2012 by raandy
All blood is screened regardless of who is donating or who lied or did not lie on the questionnaires.

Donations from willing individuals is the best procurement method. This works as long as the supply is adequate. When the supply is not enough, how are they going to fill the shortfalls?
15:19 June 14, 2012 by maxmuxx
@Wonderer Well said..!! I take a bow ..!!
18:17 June 14, 2012 by Englishted
When will they allow people from the British Islands to give it?

I have tried but the fear of B.S.E. has not been amended so we can't.
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