Red Cross fined $9.6M for sloppy recordkeeping
PHILADELPHIA - January 17, 2012 (WPVI) -- A$9.6-million fine has been lodged against the Red Cross because of problems that federal inspectors found in Philadelphia.
The government says the record keeping of blood donations at the Red Cross Donor and Client Support Center in Philadelphia is so sloppy, it endangers the nation's blood supply.
The center coordinates blood donor information from more than 30 collection points around the country.
The people who run the Donor and Client Support Center in Philadelphia had no comment and, instead, directed Action News to public relations.
Action News received a statement from the Red Cross that says they're disappointed by the fine and that since the inspection 15 months ago, "We have already taken corrective steps to address those matters."
The consumer watchdog group Public Citizen isn't buying it.
"For the same kinds of violations that the Red Cross have been repeatedly caught at they have been caught once again," Dr. Sidney Wolfe of Public Citizen said.
Over the past 9 years, the Red Cross has been fined $47-million for repeatedly violating safety standards agreed to under court order.
Public Citizen says, every time, they claim to have corrected the problems only to be fined again.
"Every time the FDA engages in an extensive inspection like this, they find the same things," Wolfe said.
The Red Cross says no one has been infected or killed because of the deficiencies found here.
They say, "The blood supply today is safer than ever before."
The FDA, despite leveling the fines, agrees with the Red Cross that the nation's blood supply hasn't been compromised.
But Public Citizen says they're lucky no one's been harmed.
"It's just a matter of time given how sloppy the record keeping and other problems are that someone is going to get injured as a result of it," Wolfe said.
The Red Cross says it is committed to meeting all FDA standards. Unfortunately, it is too late to avoid a $9.6-million fine at a time when the agency is selling off assets to reduce a $31.5-million deficit.
philadelphia, pennsylvania, red cross, local/state, david henry
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