Private blood banks ‘illegal’

Citizens being charged up to 3,000 euros for cord blood banking, the storage of umbilical cord blood for future use, are being exploited by private blood banks that are not qualified to operate, the head of the Hellenic Society of Hematology (EAE) said yesterday. The only legitimate cord and organ banks in Greece are those that operate at state hospitals and clinics, Achilleas Anagnostopoulos told a press conference ahead of European Leukemia, Lymphomas and Myeloma Awareness Week. All private blood banks are «illegal,» he said. In a letter to the Health Ministry, the EAE alleged that private banks «mislead parents on a range of issues.» According to Anagnostopoulos, staff working at private blood banks are not qualified to determine whether the cord blood they collect fulfils the specifications for use in transplants. There are around 17 private blood banks operating in Greece at the moment and just one state bank, at the Athens Academy.