View Full Version : FDA fines Red Cross -- Again

Greg H
Thu Feb 2, 2012, 07:22 PM
Hi y'all!

Not to be a downer, but this certainly isn't welcome news for someone who has transfusions every other week:

A few weeks ago, the Food and Drug Administration hit the American Red Cross with a nearly $10 million fine for safety violations, lax oversight and faulty testing of its blood services. The fine is just the latest of more than a dozen the Red Cross has racked up in the last decade.

There's a lengthy article here (http://www.propublica.org/article/10-million-fine-on-red-cross-highlights-its-troubled-history-of-blood-servi), with plenty of internal links to data and other news stories, from ProPublica, a top-notch investigative journalism outfit.

Take care!


Neil Cuadra
Fri Feb 3, 2012, 03:52 AM
That's scary news, Greg. So many of us depend on blood collected by the Red Cross.

The fact that they were fined for the same types of problems two years ago is especially worrisome since it seems they haven't made the necessary changes to avoid the serious safety problems cited by the FDA.

Fri Feb 3, 2012, 11:33 AM
Yikes. Any idea what the situation is like in Canada?


Neil Cuadra
Fri Feb 3, 2012, 01:44 PM
Yikes. Any idea what the situation is like in Canada?

I looked around for further information about this topic.

Canadian Blood Services doesn't seem to have had the problems that affected the American Red Cross. Canadian Blood Services was established in 1998 to take over management of the blood supply in Canada after a scandal where the Canadian Red Cross allowed blood contaminated with HIV and hepatitis C to be used in the 1990s. You can see a timeline of the history (http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/taintedblood/bloodscandal_timeline.html).

In the U.K. there was an earlier scandal where thousands of people with haemophilia in the 1970s and 1980s were infected with HIV and hepatitis C from contaminated blood obtained through the National Health Service. Website taintedblood.info (http://www.taintedblood.info/index.php) is full of information about it.

Tainted blood in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and other countries was traced back to a prison in Arkansas (http://encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=3732) that collected blood with improper screening. There's a novel based on the scandal, Blood Trail (http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Trail-Michael-Galster/dp/0915463849), and a documentary movie about it named Factor 8: The Arkansas Prison Blood Scandal (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0782849/).

Another documentary, Bad Blood: A Cautionary Tale (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1773294/), has a website with an excellent timeline (http://badblooddocumentary.com/about/timeline) about the history of blood supply issues in the U.S. I was shocked to learn that in 1984 the leading cause of death among hemophiliacs in the U.S wasn't bleeding, but AIDS from transfused blood.

We don't know if there are current failures in the blood supply system, like areas of poor screening or testing, that have not yet come to light, but overall the systems in each country seems to be more carefully managed and monitored than in the past, and that should give us all confidence.