FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ilana Ostrin
Today, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced proposed changes to blood donation policies that will likely take effect later this year. The policy change addresses the donation possibilities for men who have sex with men (MSM) that has long been a point of scrutiny/contention within the bleeding disorders and LGBTQ+ communities. The new policy would call for an individualized risk assessment for all donors, with the same standards for all regardless of their gender or sexual orientation.
The National Hemophilia Foundation (NHF) has long advocated that any policy change should be based in science and ensure there is no additional risk to end users of blood and plasma-derived products. The announcement of the proposed policy change is accompanied by a 60 day comment period whereby individual and organizations may register their concerns and questions to the federal government before the policy change is finalized. NHF looks forward to submitting comments on behalf of the inherited blood disorders community.
“The proposed FDA policy change for MSM donors comes after decades of advocacy from many communities that desire an equitable, reasonable direction that ensures the largest number of healthy eligible donors, and simultaneously fully ensures the safety of blood and plasma donations for end users,” said Nathan Schaefer, NHF’s vice president of public policy. “The United States is now considering implementing a policy that is aligned with scientific advancements in the collection, surveillance, and distribution of blood and plasma. After years of advocacy for a science-based approach, NHF applauds this change that will address the long-standing concerns of discrimination experienced by members of the LGBTQ+ community.”
Similar policy changes have been implemented in other countries in recent years, notably Canada last year. Individuals who wish to submit their concerns and questions to NHF are encouraged to do so via firstname.lastname@example.org.