Public Health: Blood Supply Generally Adequate Despite New Donor Restrictions

GAO-02-754 Published: Jul 22, 2002. Publicly Released: Sep 10, 2002.
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According to the American Association of Blood Banks, every year about 8 million individuals donate 14 million pints of blood, and 4.5 million patients receive life saving blood transfusions. The available data indicate that the blood supply has increased in the last 5 years and that growth has kept pace with the rise in demand. Blood suppliers received a high volume of blood donations immediately after the September 11 attacks. However, the small amount of blood needed to treat survivors of the attacks resulted in a nationwide surplus. The nation's blood supply can compensate for donors lost because of new donor restrictions designed to further reduce the risk of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease transmission. The average price of blood has risen over 50 percent since 1998. Although blood is primarily collected from volunteers, blood suppliers incur costs by collecting, processing, and testing donated blood.

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