IPFA welcomes NHSBT UK as new member & overall member update

21 December 2021

In its General Assembly meeting in November, the Executive Board of IPFA has nominated Mr Gerry Gogarty, Plasma Programme Director, as new board member for NHSBT.

NHSBT is currently starting up its plasma collection after the UK authorities lifted the ban on plasma to enable its use for fractionation into immunoglobulin products. Plasma from UK donors has not been used for the preparation of plasma products for almost 20 years as a precautionary risk reduction measure for vCJD that emerged in the UK population at the time.

“After this long period, we feel as we are relatively new in this field and now seek help from European and international colleagues – we are joining IPFA looking to learn, collaborate and contribute to the supply of plasma for PDMP manufacture” says Gerry.

“We are happy to have NHSBT as new member of IPFA and hope we can work together to strengthen the supply of plasma from UK donors and in that way give UK and Europe by extension secure access to these essential medicines” says Leni von Bonsdorff, Executive Director of IPFA when welcoming NHSBT.


IPFA Members are Implementing New Plasma Collection Strategies for the Future

IPFA members report many challenges during the current Covid pandemic, but also of their activities to find ways to solve these as in addition to planning for the future.

  • Among the members who collect plasma, there have not been major decreases in overall plasma collection. Some have even been able to increase their collection, both for recovered and source plasma whereas others say that they have not been able to increase plasma collection as much as hoped for, even though the basic need for blood components has been secured and maintained.
  • Donor access has in general been good, and the major challenge has been in securing the staff employment base during restrictions and due to vaccination mandates. As strategic measures and to be able to collect more plasma to meet a growing demand, members are expanding their infrastructure, adding new centers, and balancing the collection between fixed and mobile collection according to needs.
  • To attract more donors, digital marketing tools have been introduced. In the Netherlands, Sanquin is planning to offer donors more digital services including information about their health status such as iron and ferritin levels and possibly also other health parameters in the coming years.

The New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS), one of IPFA´s members, is responsible for all blood and plasma collection in the country from voluntary non-remunerated donors. Plasma, both recovered and source, is sent abroad for toll manufacturing to plasma-derived medicinal products. NZBS arranges the distribution and medical support for the use of these medicines.

Dr Sarah Morley, Chief Medical Officer at NZBS describes the situation in New Zealand:
“We have had a different experience during the pandemic than in many other parts of the world. We continue to work on a long-term strategy to maintain or even improve our approximately 90% domestic sufficiency of plasma supply as we also see the use of immunoglobulin growing. Our strategy is to broaden our access to donors and use measures such as introduction of a broader age range for donors. We will expand our current facilities, add a new fixed collection center and roll out more mobile collection which suits the geography of our country well.”