China's 'blood famine' drives patients to the black market

February 15, 2015 6:03 PM

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With hospital blood supplies tight, desperate patients are turning to agents known as "blood heads", who sell certificates that give patients access to state blood banks, creating a black market at the heart of the healthcare system.

"To us patients, buying blood solves our problems," said Hong, a retired Shanghai civil servant who suffers from myelodysplastic syndrome, a debilitating blood condition. "If there were no blood heads, what would I do?"

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