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For fecal transplants performed in a clinical trial or other regulated setting, donors undergo extensive screening that involves blood and stool tests and a lengthy survey. Donors are not paid.

For the Fraser Health pilot project that has now been cancelled, screening was expected to cost about $400 a donor. To keep expenses down, the doctors planned to recruit a small pool of donors who could donate to more than one recipient without having to be re-screened. Tests would have been repeated every six months.

Other expenses – mostly for disposables such as gloves and tubing – put the cost of fecal transplants at about $200, Fraser Health's Ed Auersperg said.

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A standard course of fidaxomicin – a new class of drug being brought to market in the hopes of reducing relapses of C. difficile – costs about $2,300, he says.

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