Canada Needs Plasma. Should the Pay Donors to Get it?

Medical advances like organ transplants and blood plasma transfusions have created new dilemmas for healthcare workers, economists, and ethicists alike. If you bring up the idea of compensating donors of bodily tissues and fluids at a dinner party, you’re likely to evoke reactions of disgust (and fewer future dinner party invitations). However, given the importance of these procedures and shortage of donors, the conversation must be had somewhere. That’s why we reserved a full hour to discuss the topic with business ethicist Peter Jaworski of Georgetown University. Jaworski advocates the legalization of blood plasma sales in his native country of Canada. Our neighbors to the north currently import the life-saving serum from the U.S., where “donations” are incentivized with small cash payments. Peter recently penned an op-ed for Canada’s National Post titled, “Canada needs blood plasma. We should pay donors to get it.” He brings a nuanced understanding of the opposing arguments, along with a convincing rebuttal that might even persuade your friends at the next cocktail party of the merits of such incentives for plasma donation (although we aren’t responsible for any friends lost over the issue). Why are some goods, namely those that come from the human body, thought to be off-limits for sale? Tune in to hear the case for legalizing the repugnant.