Health News

China’s Blood Shortage Drives Patients To Black Market


In China, a shortage of blood which has been dubbed the “blood famine” by some, is driving some desperate patients to black market agents known as “blood heads” who sell certificates which allow patients access to state blood banks.

Hong, a retired Shanghai civil servant suffering from a debilitating blood condition known as myelodysplastic, was quote by Channel News Asia as having said that “buying blood solves our problems” and that without blood heads, he questioned, “what would I do?”

While the famine comes as a result of the Chinese government’s attempts to restore faith in the nation’s blood supply and encourage donors, it seems to have inadvertently created a black market at the heart of the country’s healthcare system.

Back in the late 1980s and ’90s, tens if not hundreds of thousands of people contracted HIV through unhygienic practices as local officials urged farmers to sell their blood and plasma which was sold by an early generation of “blood heads” to hospitals and blood banks.

In other HIV related news here on Immortal News, researchers found an aggressive strain of the deadly virus in Cuba which rapidly manifests into AIDS. Also, a new smartphone device tests for HIV and syphilis in just 15 minutes.

In 2011, another scandal surfaced as a young woman claimed that she worked at the Red Cross Society of China and posted pictures online of her lavish lifestyle which damaged the government blood collecting charity’s reputation.

As of present, Chinese law encourages patients to present a certificate indicating that they, their friends or relatives have donated blood when they need to tap into the country’s supply. The effect has penalized the chronically ill dependent upon either regular or large blood transfusions and those with an inability to count on friends and family. Subsequently, to meet the demand, a new generation of blood heads have filled the void, selling unneeded donation certificates to those in need.

One blood head, a 25-year-old man named Zhang from Jilin province, said not to “worry about police” because they “know” all of the cops.

In Changsha, a blood donation center official indicated that blood stores were currently one-third of the levels considered safe and that all but essential surgeries had been subsequently postponed.

One county, located in eastern Zhejiang province, made national headlines back in September when it proposed to raise the scores of children on the high school entrance exam for those donating more than 4,000 cubic centimeters of blood.

What are your thoughts on China’s blood shortage and the black market economy which has sprung up to meet the population’s demand for the oxygen carrying red liquid which circulates through our veins and arteries?

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