Donors often believe their blood is given to local hospitals, and all donations stay in the community — neither of which is true. A pint of blood in America sells to hospitals for $180 to $300, depending on the market, and expired blood often is sold to research laboratories, said Ben Bowman, chief executive of General Blood, the blood broker engaged in a legal tussle with Oklahoma City-based OBI.Note that the Arkansas Blood Institute says on its website that it is committed to serving the local area, not hospitals outside of the
Bowman’s company, formed four years ago, acts as a middleman between blood suppliers, like blood donation centers, and buyers such as hospitals and research laboratories.
It’s an unusual industry because the product is completely dependent on donors, who aren’t paid for their donation. Yet selling the blood — which technically is a pharmaceutical product—makes millions of dollars for nonprofit entities such as Oklahoma Blood Institute.
“We have a charitable side, which is trying to motivate people to do an amazing thing to help their fellow man or woman,” said Dr. John Armitage, OBI’s chief executive officer. “You turn that around: We are providing a drug. On the business side of what we do, the comparison is to a pharmaceutical company.”
According to tax forms filed with the IRS, OBI generated $85.6 million in the tax year ending March 31, 2013.
And its top executives are well paid. Armitage reported earning $421,561 from OBI that year. Numerous others were making six-figure salaries, including Chief Financial Officer Randall Stark, who reported earning $202,886, and Chief Medical Officer James W. Smith, who earned $273,597.
The organization has six vice presidents, all making $140,000 or more.