Expert panel supports expansion of Canadian plasma collection

Final report on Protecting access to immune globulins for Canadians

(OTTAWA) –  Canadian Blood Services welcomed the publication today of the Final report of the expert panel on immune globulin product supply and related impacts: Protecting Access to Immune Globulins for Canadians.  

Canadian Blood Services views this report as an important addition to the ongoing dialogue related to security of the domestic plasma supply for immune globulin (Ig) in Canada. Of note for the national blood authority, as it considers and reviews the findings, is the expert panel’s agreement that demand for plasma is projected to continue to increase, and the acknowledgment that security of plasma supply for Ig is a critical public health care issue for Canada. 

The report echoes the call by ministers of health last October at the Health Ministers’ meeting that Canada must increase the domestic plasma supply. This concurs with Canadian Blood Services’ warning that Canada must make a more significant contribution to source plasma collection and reduce the country’s dependence on a single market (the U.S). The report describes Canadian Blood Services’ plan to collect more plasma as an appropriate response for reaching these goals.  

“As stewards of the national blood system, we are not surprised by the expert panel finding that Canada needs to collect more source plasma,” said CEO Dr. Graham Sher. “Our plan remains to significantly increase plasma collections from Canadian donors for Canadian patients, as per our voluntary, publicly funded collections model.”

Ensuring security of the plasma supply for Ig is a core responsibility and expertise of Canadian Blood Services. For the past number of years, Canadian Blood Services has engaged with stakeholders and consulted with experts about plasma sufficiency levels in Canada. The national blood authority has been warning health system leaders that Canada’s sufficiency level continues to drop, and is now at approximately 15 per cent of Canadian demand for lifesaving Ig. The report notes better Ig utilization management in Canada as being necessary to address demand, recognizing utilization alone will not solve the sufficiency problem, and that Canada’s blood system must also collect more plasma.

Canadian Blood Services is increasing plasma collection within its existing infrastructure, while recognizing that more needs to be done. Canadian Blood Services continues to plan next steps for its proof-of-concept collections sites, and will be drawing on significant plasma collection expertise to ensure optimum success and cost-efficiency in its approach.

“We will continue our discussions with ministers of health on how best to support the national blood system in fulfilling this mandate on behalf of Canadians,” said Dr. Sher. “This includes reaching some consensus on how as country we approach private plasma collection into the future.” 

Canadian Blood Services remains concerned about the issue of ‘crowding out’ from large scale expansion of the commercial plasma sector in Canada. The report stresses this as an area needing ongoing oversight, monitoring and vigilance. Canadian Blood Services will continue to seek from health system leaders a resolution to this issue for the country.

The Final report of the expert panel on immune globulin product supply and related impacts: Protecting Access to Immune Globulins for Canadians can be found on the Health Canada website.

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