Selling Donated Blood is Big Business in U.S.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014
OBI CEO John Armitage (photo:Association of Donor Recruitment Professionals)

Donating blood is anything but a charitable act in the United States. Oftentimes, blood given for free by Americans gets turned into profitable deals by companies specializing in blood sales to hospitals.


These days, a pint of blood can go for $180 to $300, depending on demand.


One business, General Blood based in Minnesota, serves as a middleman between blood donation centers and medical centers and research laboratories. Given that blood is such big business, it’s not unusual for some of it to be spilled in the midst of legal battles. Indeed, General Blood is currently caught up in a lawsuit with the nonprofit Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI), which sells donated blood. OBI sued General Blood, claiming it is owed money, and General Blood counter-sued OBI for $14 million over alleged confidentiality issues.


The sale of people’s donated blood for hundreds of dollars per pint explains how a nonprofit like OBI can make $86 million a year, according to The Oklahoman.


These earnings get passed down to the institute’s top executives, who make six-figure salaries. Leading the team is OBI’s CEO, John Armitage, whose annual salary is $421,561.


General Blood founder Ben Bowman claims that non-profits like OBI are profiting on blood. But Armitage denies that OBI is doing so.


 “We are providing a drug,” Armitage explained to the newspaper. “On the business side of what we do, the comparison is to a pharmaceutical company. Technically, we like to say the blood is free, but they [hospitals] pay a service charge. It’s arranged, so it’s a service fee.”


“We have a charitable side,” he added, “which is trying to motivate people to do an amazing thing [donate blood] to help their fellow man or woman.”

- Danny Biederman, Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

What Many Donors Don't Know: Their Blood Is Sold (by Jennifer Palmer, The Oklahoman)

If Blood Donors Can be Paid, Why Not Bone Marrow Donors? (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


Schatsie 10 years ago
Big joke, this was written about in the 1980s by Bartlett and Steele in the Philadelphia Enquirer...and there is more by Bartlett and Steele. They should have won the Pulitzer then... QUESTION is when is anyone going to do ANYTHING about it?

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