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Companies want your plasma, and they’re willing to pay big bucks to get it*

Companies want your plasma, and they’re willing to pay big bucks to get it*
Companies want your plasma, and they’re willing to pay big bucks to get it*(WLBT)
Published: Mar. 29, 2022 at 5:22 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - It’s an expensive world.

With just about everything skyrocketing in price, many may be looking for ways to make a little more cash on the side. That cash may be flowing inside you right now.

Companies around the U.S. want your plasma, and they’re willing to pay big bucks to get it.

Plasma is a yellow-ish liquid that carries water, salts and enzymes inside the blood. Because of its components, including its clotting properties, plasma can treat an array of health problems.

And that’s what makes it so valuable.

One company looking to buy your plasma is CSL Plasma, whose website says is one of the world’s largest collectors of human plasma.

They have three locations in Mississippi, two in Jackson and one on the Coast. During a visit, I found the inside of the Northbrook Drive location to be extraordinarily clean. It had the scent of a high school biology lab. A security guard stood outside the front door.

The Center Manager there is Jai Baylis. She says that at CSL Plasma, the plasma donated at their locations is used by their sister company, CSL Behring, to make medications for rare diseases and disorders.

To donate plasma as CSL, you must be between 18 and 74 and they ask that you be in good health. You must also be able to provide picture ID and proof of residency.

As Baylis explains, the process of donating plasma takes around 90 minutes. The donor is hooked up to a machine which takes the donor’s blood and separates the red blood cells from the plasma. It does this by spinning the blood at high speed, causing the plasma to rise to the surface, à la oil and water.

The plasma is collected inside a bottle which hangs outside of the machine, and the red blood cells are eventually reinfused back into the donor.

Companies want your plasma, and they’re willing to pay big bucks for it*
Companies want your plasma, and they’re willing to pay big bucks for it*(WLBT)

Although the payments fluctuate, Baylis said that in March of 2022, a new donor could expect to receive $100 for their first visit. For their second visit they are paid $125. Third is $115.

In all, one could make more than $700 for their first 8 donations of plasma at CSL.

After that eighth donation, though, the donor is then considered a “qualified donor” and the following donations could result in payments of $35 to $48 each time*.

*This is subject to change depending on the CSL Plasma location and the quality of the donor.

Because a donor can make two plasma donations within a 7-day period, someone could potentially make at least an extra 70 bucks a week through plasma donations alone. That’s almost $300 a month.

A Google search will tell you that a liter of plasma may cost a company around $150 to collect, but that they could then sell that liter for $500.

At CSL Plasma, however, there is no exchange of money due to the fact that the plasma collected is then used by CSL Behring for their litany of products. The biopharmaceutical company brought in $10.3 billion in revenue last year.

As Jai Baylis pointed out, it takes around 1,200 donations in order to treat just one patient with, say, hemophilia. Which means there needs to be a bounty of plasma donations.

In 2019, there were 53,000,000 plasma collections in the United States, who supplies 94% of the world’s blood plasma. Compare this to the year 2007, which only saw 15,000,000 plasma collections in the U.S.

This is a good thing, right? Well...

The plasma-collecting industry, which is worth an estimated $24 billion, has come under scrutiny from some outlets, accusing the industry of sketchy tactics in order to obtain the precious murky-yellow fluid.

The Atlantic magazine said the industry is specifically targeting poor Americans, who, they say, are far more willing to donate their plasma for its cash incentives.

“Blood plasma–which historically has been collected disproportionately in the country’s poorest communities–is fueling a multibillion-dollar worldwide industry,” the magazine wrote.

According to ABC News, 80% of the plasma centers in America are located in poor neighborhoods. In Jackson, the two locations can be found on Ellis Avenue and Northbrook Drive.

Rhonda Sciarra, the director of communications for CSL Plasma, wrote in a statement that the locations of the CSL Plasma centers are based on “population density, availability of real estate property and local zoning laws.”

Other factors, she wrote, include: building visibility, availability of public transport, ample parking spaces and a number of retail businesses in the area.

During that visit to the CSL Plasma on Northbrook Drive, there appeared to be a variety of donors. One man, Tony, told me he has been donating plasma for almost three years. Tony said he isn’t working right now and that he uses the money he gets from donating plasma to pay for gas and groceries.

Baylis said they see around 60 to 100 donors a day at the Northbrook Drive location. Many donors, she said, are repeat visitors but that there has been a rash of new donors as of late.

She has seen doctors, lawyers and nurses donate plasma, she says, and although there are “stereotypes” associated with plasma donors, at the end of the day, they are helping create life-saving medications.

As the president of the Immune Deficiency Foundation wrote in 2019, he hopes to “dismantle” these stereotypes “so the general public is more likely to look at plasma donors as our community does: as lifesavers.”

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