Hemo-Caribbean sold more than $3 million worth of blood plasma siphoned from Haitians

January 11, 2013


The U.S. commercial blood industry was actively seeking new and cheaper sources of marketable blood in 1971 when the Haitian government granted Miami-based Hemo-Caribbean a ten year concession to harvest and export blood plasma from Port-au-Prince. The company harvested blood from Haitian donors for $3.00 per liter and shipped it via Air Haiti to the U.S. where it was sold for $23.00 per liter. Air Haiti was partly owned by Luckner Cambronne, at that time Haiti’s Minister of the Interior.

During its first year in business Hemo-Caribbean exported an estimated 5,000 to 6,000 liters of blood plasma monthly operating six days a week and fourteen hours a day. Sales to American distributors alone exceeded $3 million and represented 70,000 pounds of blood plasma siphoned from 170,000 Haitians.

Armour Pharmaceutical, which relied on Hemo-Caribbean for 15 per cent of its total raw blood plasma supply, claimed Haitian plasma was of excellent quality. But many health professionals insisted the Haitian donors were protein deficient and should be receiving rather than selling blood plasma.

Sources: “Now the Blood” by Louis A. Perez, Jr., Progressive, 39-40 Jan 1975; and “Haiti Blood Plasma Curb Poses Problems”, The Afro-American, 6, Jan 13, 1973.

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