DOH-7 warns anew those planning to sell plasma
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7) renewed their warnings against those planning to sell plasma amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
This time, it developed after unofficial reports alleged individuals planning to have themselves infected with SARS-CoV-2 intentionally so they can sell their plasma, a component in the blood, after recovery.
DOH-7, in turn, reminded the public of the law that penalizes individuals selling their plasma to patients afflicted with COVID-19.
“It is against the law to sell your blood or any blood products. That is provided in the law, and anyone can be held criminally liable if caught selling. There are penalties regarding this,” said Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, DOH-7 spokesperson.
Heat involving the supply of plasma has slowly risen as health experts discovered convalescent plasma therapy, which involved infusing healthy plasma to COVID-19 patients, have produced promising results.
But the Republic Act (RA) No. 7719 or the National Blood Services Act of 1994 disallows the sale of blood, including all of its components, as a commodity, and that blood transfusion should be done from blood bags voluntarily donated.
People caught selling blood, in which plasma is found, will face imprisonment of one to six months, or fines around P5,000 to P50,000. The law also mandates that blood bags for medical services should only be stored and come from accredited blood banks in the country.
Owners of colorum blood banks, or those operating without licenses from DOH, can face at least 12 years and one day of imprisonment or penalties amounting up to P500,000.
Although they had not received any official complaints or documented cases of individuals gambling their lives with COVID-19 to earn from selling bags of their blood, Loreche, however, said it would be an alarming thought.
“It is very dangerous for one to even think magpasakit siya ug COVID (to get sick intentionally with COVID) so he or she, once recovered, can sell blood. You don’t know if you will get well from it,” she said.
DOH-7 also urged the public not to view or treat plasma as the ‘sole miracle cure’ of the highly infectious disease that had infected over 7 million people worldwide.
“Convalescent plasma therapy is not a sole treatment. It is an adjunct to a COVID-19 patient based on the premise that he or she is recovering. We give convalescent plasma therapy to help in building the immunity of the person fighting the infection,” explained Loreche.
Cases of COVID-19 patients, who have successfully recovered with the help of convalescent plasma therapy, have been prominently documented both locally and internationally.
Antibodies believed to have the strength of fighting SARS-CoV-2 from the health systems of an individual were found in healthy plasmas, usually from those who have recovered from the infection.
Loreche said screening protocols were also put in place for those who would want to donate their plasma. /dbs
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