FDA Will Delay Blood Ban Until Fall 2002
The FDA will likely decide to outlaw blood supplies from Europe, but the ban would not take effect before fall 2002 "to allow sufficient time for the system to adjust," Dr. Jay Epstein, director of the FDA's Office of Blood Research and Review, said yesterday. The AP/Bergen Record reports that the announcement may afford the New York metropolitan region a "reprieve" from an impending "massive blood shortage." Under the proposed ban, a "precaution" against mad cow disease, the FDA would prevent the New York region from accepting 150,000 units of blood that the region receives annually from Europe (Neergaard, AP/Bergen Record, 8/23). The proposed ban also would exclude blood donations from individuals who have spent five years or more in Europe since 1980, or three months or longer in Great Britain between 1980 and 1996. The New York region, the only area in the United States that imports blood from Europe, "would be affected the most" by the proposed ban (Hernandez, New York Times, 8/23).