The American Red Cross was fined more than $9.6 million by the Food and Drug Administration this week for blood safety violations. The FDA found hundreds of said violations nationwide during inspections of 16 of the nation’s 36 blood collection centers. The FDA sent a 32 page letter to the Washington headquarters of the Red Cross detailing the violations, which range from as seemingly common and innocuous as understaffing, to as serious and potentially threatening to the blood supply as ineffective screening of donors, failure to add new donors with infected blood to the national list of deferred donors, failure to share information on deferred donors between facilities, and failure to quarantine and recall infected blood units.
The Red Cross, for its part, says that most of the issues centered around an inspection conducted 15 months ago, in 2010, at their center in Philadelphia. They are “disappointed” that the FDA fined them for an inspection conducted “so long ago” where they have “already taken corrective steps” and says the blood supply is “safer than ever before.”
The Red Cross is no stranger to controversy. It was their poor handling of donors and poor scientific measures that caused blood collection to be entirely removed from the responsibility of the Red Cross in Canada after the Tainted Blood crisis of the 1980s left thousands infected with HIV and Hepatitis through infected blood products.
But incredibly, in this case, the American Red Cross has faced $47 million worth of fines from the FDA for violations over the last decade — many for the same violations they’re facing now. Are they learning? Do they care? Why doesn’t the Red Cross seem to be shaping up its act?
Photo Credit: MakeLessNoise on Flickr.