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Meet The Family Who Made Their Billions Off The Blood Of Poor People

If you are strapped for cash, you can engage in a practice known as “plassing,” which entails donating the plasma that is contained within your blood to a facility that accepts such donations. There is a good chance that the family that makes hundreds of millions of dollars every year off the plasma of poor people will own that center.

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If you are strapped for cash, you can engage in a practice known as “plassing,” which entails donating the plasma that is contained within your blood to a facility that accepts such donations. There is a good chance that the family who owns the company that is making hundreds of millions of dollars each year off the plasma of people who are just barely scraping by financially enough to sell their blood for cash will also own that center. The headquarters of Grifols SA can be found in Barcelona, which is located in Spain. The family that runs the company has amassed a fortune of $3.8 billion through the exploitation of low-income workers.

It’s a well-known fact that over the course of the past ten years, the demand for plasma has skyrocketed all over the world. In the United States, there are a lot of people who are having trouble making ends meet. During that time period, plasma donation rates in the United States have more than doubled. Grifols’s stock price has increased by 37% over the course of the past year. The company is responsible for the operation of 220 collection centers across 32 states, which is equivalent to one quarter of the total number of collection centers found in the United States. In 2018, the corporation reported a net income of 653 million dollars. The bioscience division, which is in charge of running the donation centers in the United States and turning the plasma that is collected into drugs that can be sold, was responsible for generating more than three quarters of that income. The cash is essential for the millions of people who live in poverty or are underemployed.

JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images

JOSEP LAGO/AFP, made available through Getty Images

In the year 1940, brothers Jose Antonio and Victor Grifols Lucas established the business in the city of Barcelona. The Grifols Laboratories were initially focused on the research and development of blood transfusion and vaccination technologies. During that time, Spain was completely destroyed by its civil war and cut off from the rest of the world by the Franco regime. Dr. Jose A. Grifols Lucas, who was Jose Antonio’s son, was the pioneering researcher who first published the plasmapheresis procedure in the year 1952. Grifols discovered that donors could give more frequently without experiencing any adverse effects if the plasma was first separated.

Grifols is currently one of only three companies that have a significant share of the global plasma market. It is still owned and operated by members of the same family, with co-CEOs Raimon Grifols Roura, the son of co-founder Victor, and Victor Grifols Deu, the founder’s nephew. The children of the company’s co-founders, Jose Antonio and Victor, are each given an equal share of the family fortune. Nuria Roura Carreras, who was married to Victor, has the highest individual net worth in the family, coming in at $900 million. She is a significant shareholder in the company.

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What exactly is “plasma”? It is the liquid component of the blood that is abundant in antibodies and proteins, and it is used for a wide variety of purposes. White and red blood cells float in it. In the treatment of hemophilia, medications derived from plasma are used. They also show promise in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease by slowing its progression. It is generally accepted that donating plasma is safe; however, the frequency with which a person donates is a topic of discussion among medical professionals. There are some nations that do not compensate donors for their plasma donations. There are only a few countries, including the United States, Germany, and China, in which it is not against the law to financially compensate donors.

Studies have shown that low-income neighborhoods are the most likely locations for plasma collection centers to be situated in. Donating plasma is seen as exploitative by some people because they believe the industry is preying on those with less financial means. As a core component of their operations, Grifols and other blood collection companies actively encourage individuals to make donations. Donors give blood because they want to make money, and the products made from their donations save other people’s lives.

Grifols acknowledges that the majority of its customers have low incomes, so take that for what it’s worth. Additionally, both the company and its donors stand to benefit from this arrangement. Donors of plasma often do so because they are struggling financially and need the money.

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