Press release: Not-for-profit European blood establishments are committed to increasing plasma collection in the EU
While a wide-spread virus threatens the entire world, the need for life-saving blood products such as plasma is more and more acute, be it to potentially heal individuals hit by the Sars-CoV-2 virus, or to support those living with a condition whose treatment necessitates regular intake of plasma-derived medicinal products (PDMPs).
European blood establishments across Europe are fully dedicated and committed to maintaining a supply of plasma to best meet the needs of European patients and to deliver the necessary products while respecting safety and quality measures to protect both donors and patients.
COVID-19 has impacted blood and blood component donation, limiting donor visits to donation centres and making it very difficult for Blood Establishments to successfully organise mobile collections. The situation has underlined further the need to increase plasma collection in the EU. All stakeholders recognise the European Union’s lack of self-sufficiency in plasma for fractionation and PDMPs which has worsened on account of the steadily increasing demand for these products, notably polyvalent immunoglobulins, and which is generating significant imports from third countries, especially from the United States.
To address this issue, not-for-profit blood establishments, members of EBA, have, inter alia:
- Set up specific plasmapheresis programmes at national level, to prioritise the collection of plasma
- Increased their collection capacity through implementation of dedicated plasma centres, training staff, acquiring new equipment, increasing communication and marketing campaigns
- Through knowledge and best practice sharing, promoted best practices to increase efficiency of plasma collection as well as donor vigilance to ensure donor safety and confidence in blood donation
- Implemented measures to reduce wastage of recovered plasma
However, the presence in several European countries of a dual system where commercial operators also collect plasma and offer payment to plasma donors erodes the current community-based, non-remunerated donor population, which is the key element to secure a safe sustainable supply of blood components and plasma for fractionation.
Furthermore, preferentially relying on a larger donor base undergoing non-remunerated plasma donation at a low frequency reduces overall donor burden, maintains donor safety and provides optimal plasma product in terms of protein content.
“Achieving an agreed level of European self-sufficiency in plasma for fractionation is a key factor in ensuring the long-term availability of plasma-derived medicines needed by patients in the EU” said Prof. Pierre Tiberghien, President of EBA. He added: “Members States should encourage and provide support to their Blood Establishments to develop efficient plasma collection programmes within the framework of voluntary non-remunerated blood donation. By doing so, Member States will safeguard the access of recipients to both blood components and PDMPs in Europe.”
To reach this goal, plasma collection by not-for-profit blood establishments to meet the needs of patients should be recognised as an EU strategic objective requiring public intervention.
EBA is fully committed to addressing these challenges and more, as demonstrated in this time of pandemic, when EBA and its members put in place contingency planning solutions to address COVID-19 impacts on plasma supply and engage in developing exploratory therapeutic means through the implementation of COVID-19 convalescent plasma programmes and studies, both at national and pan-European levels, with the EU funded SUPPORT-E project.
EBA and its members are dedicated to work towards matching the supply and demand in plasma, to best serve the needs of European patients.
The European Blood Alliance (EBA) an association of 26 not for profit Blood Establishments within the European Union or European Free Trade Association. Its mission is:
- To contribute to the availability, quality, safety and cost-effectiveness of the blood and tissue supply for the citizens of Europe by developing and maintaining an efficient and strong collaboration amongst European blood, cells and tissue services;
- To increase public and professional awareness of voluntary and non-remunerated donation of blood and blood components as an indispensable therapeutic means to help patients;
- To assist European blood establishments to continuously improve their performance, based on scientific and ethical principles for the benefit of patients;
- To facilitate networking among European blood, cells and tissue services.
More information: www.europeanbloodalliance.eu
info (at) europeanbloodalliance.eu
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