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American Red Cross Hit With New Antitrust Suit

 |  February 16, 2023

On Tuesday Verax Biomedical sued the US Red Cross over claims that it has worsened a “national blood crisis” by destroying a robust industry filled with low-cost middlemen, reported Bloomberg Law.

This new antitrust suit is challenging the Red Cross’ new policy of pre-treating all platelets it sells to hospitals rather than letting them choose among various rival organizations.

According to the complaint, the move to tie “platelet bacteria mitigation” services to a blood banking sector dominated by the Red Cross is effectively coercing hospitals into exclusive dealing arrangements—given that many have no other platelet options—and forcing companies like Verax out of business. Verax allegedly makes a popular platelet screening test.

Read More: South Korea: Two firms fined for price fixing Red Cross’ blood bags

The suit comes as blood banking groups like the Red Cross, which allegedly holds a 50% market share, are seeking to recover from blood shortages post COVID-19, Bloomberg reported.

According to the complaint “the organization’s decision “to weaponize its dominant position in the US platelet market” is also exacerbating shortages, increasing prices and waste while reducing consumer choice and innovation. These harms are ongoing and cannot be dismantled by natural market forces.”

A Red Cross spokesperson, in a statement to Bloomberg Law, said Wednesday that the case is a baseless challenge to its “platelet safety strategy.”

“The Red Cross mitigates bacterial risk in platelets and complies with FDA guidance primarily by using pathogen inactivation, a solution that reduces bacterial risk while also mitigating other pathogen threats and safety risks,” the statement said. “We believe pathogen inactivation is critical to maintaining a safe and readily available platelet supply for patients in need.”