Boost voluntary plasma collection to ensure security of essential blood products, says Health Coalition
The Canadian Health Coalition is urging Canadian Blood Services (CBS), the federal agency responsible for blood and blood products such as plasma, to take steps to secure Canada’s voluntary blood supply while avoiding measures that could put Canadians’ health at risk, such as non-voluntary, paid plasma collection by commercial enterprises.
“It is critical that CBS accelerate the implementation of its plan to increase voluntary plasma collection to achieve greater sufficiency,” said the Canadian Health Coalition’s response to CBS’s recent questionnaire on securing Canada’s plasma sufficiency for immunoglobulin, an essential product derived from plasma through fractionation.
“Combining purchased commercial plasma with voluntary plasma for fractionation would be cheaper, but would forsake an important safeguard in the advent of a new non-heat-treatable pathogen, such as a prion,” said the CHC’s submission.
“[The] CHC strongly opposes ‘Commercial sector contributing to plasma sufficiency,’” as described by CBS’s questionnaire. “Plasma collection should remain guided by the principles of the Krever Commission for Canada’s national blood supply including that blood is a public resource and donors should not be paid.”
According to information provided by Canadian Blood Services, the agency collects about 15 percent of the plasma needed to make enough immunoglobulins for the hospitals and clinics it serves in Canada; the remaining 85 percent is purchased on the international market.
The Canadian Health Coalition pointed out several risks to Canada’s plasma security, including the vulnerability of global supply chains, inefficiencies in Canada’s current use of immunoglobin, and the potential for our supply to become contaminated by unknown new pathogens arising via non-human species.
The coalition recommends expanding voluntary plasma collection within Canada, better management of blood products usage, and developing new technology for the manufacture of plasma protein products by non-plasma-dependent processes, such as recombinant technology.
- Read Canadian Blood Services Immunoglobulin (IG) Submission by the Canadian Health Coalition, December 16, 2021.
- Read Canadian Blood Services. (2021, November). Security of Plasma Supply for Immunoglobulin: Briefing document for stakeholder engagement [Stakeholder Briefing Note].