19/07/2013 09:45 BST

Vince Cable Warns Bain Not To Be 'Thoughtless' After Buying Our Blood

Business Secretary Vince Cable during a visit to the headquarters of outdoor clothing manufacturer Trespass after the launch of the fourth Scotland Analysis paper Scotland Analysis: Business and the microeconomic framework.

Business secretary Vince Cable has thrown his weight behind the American venture capitalist firm Bain Capital’s £230 million takeover of the NHS’ blood plasma service PRUK.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4, Cable said: “If the basic principles of the blood donor system are preserved I wouldn’t stand in the way of Government deriving some revenue from it."

But he warned Bain Capital, once ran by former US Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, not to “undermine” the state of the service.

“I certainly wouldn’t want to see it undermined by any thoughtless commercial activity,” he said.

Cable’s comments come after the controversial sell-off was announced by the Department of Health on Thursday, which will see Bain Capital taking 80% stake in Plasma Resources UK. The government will be left with a minority 20% stake.

Labour MP Valerie Vaz, who serves on the Commons Health Committee, told the Huffington Post UK: "It is unclear why Plasma Resource UK should be sold.

"It is important the NHS controls vital services such as plasma products. The Government has learnt no lessons from the use of contaminated blood in the 1970s and 1980s whose victims are still seeking justice."


Health campaigner Geoff Dunbar told HuffPostUK: “We have a company that doesn't know a great deal about blood plasma supplies looking to make a profit from a critical health service. Bad news all round!"

“People who need to use plasma products have to contend with serious health issues and are already vulnerable. They have to use products that cannot be 100% safe because there may be as yet not identified pathogens in the supply chain. To add to all this by subjecting them to even greater risk is simply wrong.”

On hearing of the sale, former health minister and foreign secretary Lord Owen said: “It's hard to conceive of a worse outcome for a sale of this particularly sensitive national health asset than a private equity company with none of the safeguards in terms of governance of a publicly quoted company and being answerable to shareholders.

"Bain Capital should not have been chosen for this sale. Is there no limit to what and how this coalition government will privatise?"

Health minister Dan Poulter said about the sale: “This deal will ensure that patients will have access to high quality plasma products for years to come and it is good news that Bain are investing in medicine and the life science industry in the UK.”