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Health Policy
FDA to Lift Ban on Blood Donations From Gay Men
From the Wall Street Journal of Tue, 23 Dec 2014 14:12:35 EST
A donator gives blood at the Shepeard Community Blood Center in Athens, Georgia, earlier in December.
A donator gives blood at the Shepeard Community Blood Center in Athens, Georgia, earlier in December. Zuma Press

WASHINGTON—The Food and Drug Administration reversed a decades-old ban on gay men donating blood, concluding that modern scientific screening of blood makes the ban unnecessary.

Instead, the agency concluded that it will allow donations from men if they haven’t had sex with men in more than a year.

“The FDA has carefully examined and considered the available scientific evidence relevant to its blood donor deferral policy,” said FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg. Now, she said, the FDA “will take the necessary steps to recommend a change to the blood donor deferral period.”

The change won’t occur immediately. First, the agency will publish a draft guidance in 2015, followed by a comment period, said Dr. Peter Marks, deputy director of the FDA’s center for biologics evaluation and research. After that—perhaps in 2015—the guidance will become final.

Write to Thomas M. Burton at tom.burton@wsj.com



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