Blood Money: The Story of Life, Death, and Profit Inside America’s Blood Industry

S. & S. Audio. Feb. 2023. 803p. ISBN 9781797155395. $19.99. ECON
Award-winning journalist McLaughlin has been diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder that must be treated with human blood plasma. A protein compound of blood, plasma is used to treat everything from COVID to wrinkles. McLaughlin worked in China and was aware of the scandal-plagued plasma donor system that left thousands with blood-borne diseases and AIDS-related deaths due to improper hygiene practices. Interested in the source of her medication, McLaughlin turns to researching the plasma industry in the United States, known as the OPEC of plasma, supplying blood products worth over $24 billion to the world. Donation centers are located in disadvantaged areas, cities with high unemployment, or near college campuses where its students need money. Reading McLaughlin’s exposé of the plasma economy, narrator Sarah Mollo-Christensen alternates between a lecturelike tone and the intimacy of personal revelation. While Mollo-Christensen’s narration is adept, the introduction, read by the author, points to a missed opportunity for an excellent author-narrated book.
VERDICT Although the content is occasionally repetitive, the central message about an industry taking advantage of people living in or close to poverty bears repeating. Recommended for libraries where this message will resonate.
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