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Historical background of IPFA

Major developments in the blood and plasma products area originated in the late 1930s. Red Cross and other organisations in Europe and elsewhere initiated programmes for the supply of blood components from voluntary non-remunerated donors in the 1930's. US commercial firms had already in the 1940's introduced paid donations in the US to meet the urgent military need for albumin. Concerns grew when it was proven that infectious diseases could be transmitted by blood and plasma products. This led to major initiatives by international governmental organisations such as the Council of Europe and WHO in support of the voluntary unpaid donation principle. In 1989 these developments resulted in the adoption by the European Commission of Directive 89/381 on plasma derivatives, which serves as a legal framework for specific technical regulations for the manufacture of plasma-derivatived medicinal products.

Several not-for-profit blood services in Europe decided in the 1970s to develop plasma fractionation capabilities. In the 1980s, with the increasing public and political debates on ethical, quality and safety issues related to blood and plasma, the interactions among the not-for-profit fractionators grew. This initiative was triggered by the fact that the European Commission established the principle that only Europe-representative organisations would be eligible for consultation on vital and far reaching regulatory matters. In 1990 the not-for-profit plasma fractionators in Europe manufacturing  plasma products from European voluntary non-remunerated donations officially sealed their partnership by creating the European Plasma Fractionation Association (EPFA).

On behalf of its members EPFA played an active role in the consultation processes with national, European and international governmental organisations. EPFA also established strong relations with other international stakeholders. The activities and potential value of EPFA soon became recognised by not-for-profit fractionators and blood services from outside of Europe. As a result the membership of EPFA grew to include organisations from South-Africa, Japan, Korea, South America, Australia, US and Canada. Therefore while maintaining its strong role in Europe, EPFA became more involved in international affairs. Recognising this development, the members decided in 2004 to formalize this expanded role by entering into a new chapter and to reform the association into the International Plasma and Fractionation Association (IPFA).

In the early 1990s, IPFA’s predecessor EPFA and the Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association (PPTA) established a collaborative approach towards effective consultation processes with regulatory authorities on technical regulations for the manufacture of plasma products.

In response to an enquiry by the European regulatory authorities, national control authorities were invited to collaborate in the organisation of the international workshops on the application of emerging screening technologies capable of enhancing product safety. This workshop continues to this day to be a highly regarded annual event and is the result of a successful partnership with the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC, UK) and currently with the Paul Ehrlich Institut (PEI, Germany).

On issues specifically related to blood and plasma collection, IPFA established a partnership with the European Blood Alliance (EBA), resulting in collaboration in particular on the EU Blood Directive and related directives and guidelines where there exists common interest.

To address the needs and developments on the supply of blood and plasma products in the Asian Pacific region, IPFA organized jointly with the Asia Pacific Blood Network (APBN)  a dedicated international meeting in Japan.

For specific European and global aid programmes, IPFA has established long lasting relationships with such organisations as the Council of Europe and the World Health Organization.

In the years ahead, IPFA will continue to pursue its goals through effective partnerships with stakeholders in the field.