By donating blood plasma, you can make anywhere from $40 to $100 per week. But that’s loose change to Ted Slavin. He could make a hundred times that by selling his blood serum.
…Rebecca Skloot told his tale in her best-selling book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Born with hemophilia… Slavin received blood transfusions repeatedly throughout his life… When his doctor tested his blood, he found a wealth of hepatitis B antibodies…uniquely suited to fighting off the infection…Slavin began charging as much as $10 for every milliliter of his blood. Pharmaceutical companies bought it wholesale. Slavin’s body was now his business.
In an opinion published to a 2012 issue ofScience, Dr. Robert Truog, Director of the Center for Bioethics at Harvard Medical School, interpreted how things currently shake out in the real world.
We have argued that patients have the right to decline, for any reason, consent for procedures that procure tissue from their bodies. Implicit in this claim is that patients have the right to demand payment in exchange for consent. The next question is whether investigators should provide such payment, or whether they should only accept tissue when the patient offers it as a gift.
The altruism of patients to donate tissue to medical research must be met by similar generosity on the part of investigators and institutions.8
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