Red Cross Fined Millions For Shoddy Blood Collection

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?

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Photo Credit: MakeLessNoise on Flickr.

33 comments

Lisa B.
Lisa B.3 years ago

My dad got hepatitis from a blood transfusion back in the eighties. He is now fighting a battle with liver cancer which his doctors say is due to the hepatitis. He had a softball size tumor and almost half of his liver removed almost a year ago. Now the cancer is back, more aggressive than ever. His prognosis is not good and they have refused him a liver transplant due to his hepatitis. he will most likely die. It infuriates me that a supposed "non-profit" organization is responsible for thousands of deaths and is not being held accountable. The Red Cross makes millions of dollars each year from the profits of blood sales and yet nothing is being done. The FDA continues to fine them but the bad practices continue. It just saddens me and makes me sick that they continue to maintain a facade of compassion and aide when they are the cause of the physical and mental suffering and financial ruin of my father.

Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe4 years ago

When a friend of mine had knee surgery, she gave her own blood a week before the surgery. I never did ask her, but now I know why. She was afraid of getting tainted blood.

iii q.
g d c.4 years ago

wow...

Sandi C.
Sandi C.4 years ago

HOPED KNOW ONE DIED FROM THIS!

Tim Cheung
Tim C.4 years ago

ty

Laura Henry
Laura Henry4 years ago

Because of that tainted blood scandal, here in Canda, a family friend passed away at a very young age... he was a hemophilliac and died before he was 20... Remembering Dave Leblanc.

Bonnie m.
Bonnie Mutchler4 years ago

I always understood they sold the tainted blood to vampires :)

cassandra Y.
Cassandra Yinger4 years ago

The last time I tried to donate blood, I received a certified letter saying I had elevated white blood cell counts. It said that they tested my blood 2 times for HIV and it was neg. but even though most common cause of high wbc is the common cold, some ppl with high white blood cells have HIV so I won't be allowed to donate blood again. It was probably just incompetence & I could if I tried again, but UNBELIEVABLE... First, it scared me into thinking I might have aides when I 1st started reading the letter, and 2nd you have some1 who really wants to help donate & I'm not allowed b/c I had a cold?

Lin Moy
Lin M4 years ago

This is just not right.

Debbie W.
Past Member 4 years ago

This is the kind of thing that stops well-intented people from donating. Once a name is well-established the group can live off its reputation for years after it goes bad. Public awareness is needed for surveillance ... and accountability has to be enforced.