Poor Americans sell their blood for up to $100 per week as big companies make huge profits, resulting in the U.S. being among the top plasma exporters, an opinion piece on the British daily, The Guardian, said Wednesday.
"The U.S. would not have a booming blood plasma industry in the first place if it weren't for the fact that so many people have to resort to potentially endangering their own health to make ends meet," wrote Arwa Mahdawi.
She added that selling blood plasma is not legal in other developing countries like the U.K., it is a usual practice in the United States.
"In the U.S., however, you can donate up to twice a week; the procedure typically takes about 90 minutes, and you will get somewhere between $30 (£23) and $50 (£38) a time. Which is more than the $7.25 (£5.50) per hour federal minimum wage," she said.
The author also said that even before the coronavirus pandemic, poor Americans were selling blood plasma.
The fact that blood plasma is a lifeline for poor Americans was also reported in the past.
In a 2015 article in The Atlantic explained the situation in detail.
"There is no money to be made selling blood anymore. It can, however, pay off to sell plasma, a component in blood that is used in several treatments for serious illnesses. It is legal to "donate" plasma up to two times a week, for which a bank will pay around $30 each time. Selling plasma is so common among America's extremely poor that it can be thought of as their lifeblood," the piece titled "Blood Plasma, Sweat and Tears."
"Industry people joke that the U.S., which produces 70% of all plasma worldwide, is 'the OPEC of plasma collections,'" Mahdawi added in the piece, saying that U.S.' role in blood plasma sector is likened to that of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in the oil business.
The author also claimed poor students knowingly exposed themselves to the COVID-19 to be able to sell their plasma afterward.
"It would seem some enterprising students have cottoned on to this moneymaking scheme. Administrators at Brigham Young University's campus in Idaho recently announced that they are "deeply troubled" by accounts of students who have "intentionally" exposed themselves to coronavirus to get that sweet, sweet blood money. "There is never a need to resort to behavior that endangers health or safety in order to make ends meet," the school said.
The U.S. is one of the top blood exporters, according to the World’s Top Exports website.
The website shows that around 70% of global plasma comes from the U.S. and that the country ranks second in the global ranking while Ireland leads as the top blood exporter.