A health official in Region 7 (Central Visayas) has warned coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) patients who are buying commercial convalescent plasma straight from donors on the possible “dangers” of such practice.
Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, Department of Health (DOH)-Region 7 chief pathologist and spokesperson for Covid-19, issued this warning amid reports that some coronavirus patients diagnosed to have recovered are selling their plasma for as much as PHP800,000 per bag.
“We have strongly advised them not to buy this blood plasma,” Loreche said in a late presser on Wednesday. “Remember the danger of having a donor who sells (directly) his blood.”
She said donors who have not undergone proper evaluation have the tendency to lie about their present medical condition as what they could be after for is money, considering the economic woes brought about by the health crisis.
The DOH had previously shut down commercial blood banks due to unacceptable practices in tapping “paid donors”, she recalled.
Under the Health agency’s National Voluntary Blood Service Program, donation of blood “should be voluntary” to make blood available to everyone who needs it, whether they can afford or not, she added.
Loreche said the sub-national laboratory stationed at Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center is the only licensed entity that can legally extract blood plasma from donors, stressing that even private hospitals here are not authorized to conduct convalescent plasma extraction for their Covid-19 patients.
“By centralizing everything, we make it (blood plasma) available for all, to those who can afford and who cannot afford. We have the look out to provide much needed samples of plasma for all who need it, poor or moneyed,” she said, adding that “we condemn the selling of blood” directly to the patients.
Loreche urged former Covid-19 patients who have tested negative of the viral disease to donate their blood plasma through the DOH in order to save the lives of those who are still undergoing treatment.
“We don’t say that it’s the treatment but it boosts the immune system of the patient. We are giving it to fight off the infection by developing his immune system through the passive type of immune system in the plasma,” she said.
The DOH-7, she said, successfully launched a blood donation campaign on Wednesday at the San Roque Parish in Subangdaku, Mandaue City through the support of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) and the cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu.
Loreche also praised the members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) for constantly providing them with blood donors for the program. (PNA)