The Sunday headline in the Tampa, Florida, newspaper read: “Blood Sales Result in Exorbitant Profits for Local Firm.” The story went on to relate how the Plasma International Company, headquartered in Tampa, Florida, purchased blood in underdeveloped countries for as little as 15 cents a pint and resold the blood to hospitals in the United States and South America. A recent disaster in Nicaragua produced scores of injured persons and the need for fresh blood. Plasma International had 10,000 pints of blood flown to Nicaragua from West Africa and charged the hospitals $25 per pint netting the firm nearly a quarter of a million dollars.
As a result of the newspaper story, a group of irate citizens, led by prominent civic leaders, demanded that the City of Tampa, and the State of Florida, revoke Plasma International’s licenses to practice business. Others protested to their Congressmen to seek enactment of legislation designed to halt the sale of blood for profit. The spokesperson was reported as saying, “What kind of people are these – selling life and death? These men prey on the needs of dying people, buying blood from poor, ignorant Africans for 15 cents worth of beads and junk, and selling it to injured people for $25 a pint. Well, this company will soon find out that the people of our community won’t stand for their kind around here.”
“I just don’t understand it. We run a business just like any other business; we pay taxes and we try to make an honest profit,” said Sol Levin as he responded to reporters at the Tampa International Airport. He had just returned home from testifying before the House Sub-Committee on Medical Standards. The recent publicity surrounding his firm’s activities during the recent earthquakes had once again fanned the flames of public opinion. An election year was an unfortunate time for the publicity to occur. The politicians and the media were having a field day.
Levin was a successful...
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