Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association
14-15th March 2017 Prague.
The Annual Meeting of this important association presented their 2 day conference covering the latest information relative to the extraction and purification of blood extracts for safe use by patients. The conference was attended by many physicians concerned with the treatment of rare diseases for which plasma products are so vital.
In his annual report to the conference, the chairman emphasised the problems of supplies encountered in various parts of the world and how they were tackling the problems. He also reported on the strategic goal to ensure the availability of safe, high quality plasma for fractionation. A further goal is the elimination of trade barriers and other discriminatory practices to achieve open access to plasma protein therapeutics globally.
The chairman reported the standards adopted are to be updated to meet 2017 requirements for the prohibition of financial gain about human parts from living and deceased donors.
The UK use of factor VIII per capita is 7.9
Germany use of factor VIII per capita is 9.1
In 12 years the UK has seen a 93% increase in the use of plasma protein due to prophylaxis in immune intolerance coupled with an increase in life expectancy and available funding.
Ivig use In the UK has increased to 88gms per 1000 population in 2014 from 28gms per 1000 population in 2002. This has been credited to new patients and longer life expectancy.
Plasma has been declared safe in the USA and Europe despite a recent media production in Europe which was based on old data and mis-information. This report was centred around blood donors being compensated for donating their blood, thus making blood a commodity on the open market. The presenters stated that blood plasma was more valuable than oil! The report stated that few checks if any were made on the donors or their personal lifestyles especially in the USA. They also stated the USA provides half of the plasma required by Europe to meet the demand.
It is comforting to know, the EU has far reaching legislation covering the collection of plasma and its use. We trust these regulations will continue in the UK after Brexit to safeguard our patients who rely on this product. There are currently meetings being held to discuss the maintenance of the current relationship for research and treatment. Whilst some countries recognise donors by recompense by the state, this is not necessarily considered derogatory, but equally not encouraged.
The plasma collected is screened and treated extensively to eliminate viral infections like hepatitis B and C and HIV type 1. Every effort is made to ensure the products we are given, are safe and not contaminated.
This will be an ongoing struggle, particularly in developing and poor countries where there is little or no regulation or influence from the large corporations and patient groups. Some donors need to sell their blood just to survive. The purchasers are not always reputable and do not undertake the checks before extraction.
Plus, the patients advocacy body for plasma reported they now have over 60 patient organisations within the group and are concentrating on capacity building within the groups.
Report by Mr Derek Elston - ITP Association Trustee