Enable AccessibilityEnable Accessibility

Changing the Plasma Collection Paradigm To Save Patient Lives

July 14, 2021

Human plasma has the power to change and save lives. That’s indisputable – the pale straw-colored, watery substance that makes up more than half of our blood is rich in proteins and carries out a variety of functions in the body, including clotting blood, fighting diseases and other critical functions.i When donated by healthy individuals, it can also be turned into medicines to treat complex, life-threatening conditions.ii, iii

Whichever way you look at it, plasma is a vitally important and precious natural resource. Treatment with plasma-derived therapies can significantly improve the quality of life and life expectancy of people who suffer from a variety of rare and complex diseases.iv Very often, plasma therapies may be the only treatment option.v And with better diagnosis and increased screening for these diseases, the number of people around the world who can benefit from plasma-derived therapies is rapidly growing.vi

However, demand for these therapies is outpacing the supply of plasma, which presents significant risk for patients who rely on these therapies throughout their lifetime.vii This is because plasma cannot be replicated in a lab. Plasma must be donated.

Lack of awareness of the need for donation is a key part of the issue. And limited understanding – particularly with regard to how plasma donation differs from blood donation – means that plasma donation is currently limited to very few countries. In fact, nearly 90% of the world total plasma supply is provided by just five countries.viii Inadequate infrastructure and restrictive regulations and policies largely based on outdated science make it hard or even impossible for people to donate plasma that can be used to make these therapies. Now more than ever, there is an urgent need and opportunity for regulators and policymakers to follow the science and remove these barriers to enable a more sustainable plasma landscape and enable continuity of care for the growing number of patients with rare diseases.

From Donor to Patient: Solutions for a Sustainable Plasma Market

Learn more about the urgent need for more plasma from an ethicist, policymaker and patient advocate who shared their perspectives on a recent panel event hosted by The Economist.

To help drive better understanding and inform the policy debate, Takeda commissioned a report by leading independent economics consultancy, Copenhagen Economics, to lay out the facts, with a specific focus on Europe.

The report – titled “The Impact of Plasma-Derived Therapies in Europe: The Health and Economic Case for Ensuring Sustainable Supply” – is the first evaluation of its kind. The findings reinforce the value of plasma to patients, as well as the significant economic and healthcare benefits that result from having donation infrastructure and a science-based policy and regulatory framework in place for the collection and fractionation of plasma.

“The report provides a new comprehensive and independent fact base to further build the case for much needed regulatory and policy change,” says Julie Kim, President of Takeda’s Plasma-Derived Therapies Business Unit. “By increasing awareness of the current constraints to plasma donation and emphasizing the need and importance of plasma therapies, we hope to reduce barriers to plasma donation and create greater security of supply for patients not just in Europe, but across the world.”

“Takeda does not have a fixed, one-size-fits-all idea on how best to get more access to plasma but we do see a need for stakeholders to work together to co-create solutions based on the situations of individual countries or regions,” she continued. “The urgency of the COVID-19 pandemic fueled innovative thinking and creative problem-solving across company and national boundaries, strengthening relations across the global health community. If there is one thing the pandemic taught us is that we can accomplish so much more together, particularly when people’s lives are at stake. Just as Takeda led the charge for greater collaboration through forming the CoVIg-19 Plasma Alliance, we are determined to lead collaborative efforts to better ensure those with rare and complex diseases do not go without vital life-changing plasma-derived treatment.”

i PPTA. Plasma Protein Therapies. What is Plasma? https://www.donatingplasma.org/donation/what-is-plasma. Accessed July 2021.

ii Perez E, et al. “Update on the use of immunoglobulin in human disease: A review of evidence.” December 2016.

iii Wasserman R, et al. “Recombinant human hyaluronidase-facilitated subcutaneous immunoglobulin infusion in primary immunodeficiency diseases” (2017) 9(12), 1035–1050. September 2017.

iv Copenhagen Economics. The impact of plasma derived therapies in Europe. The health and economic case for ensuring sustainable supply. June 2021.

v PPTA. Plasma Protein Therapies. https://www.pptaglobal.org/plasma-protein-therapies. Accessed July 2021.

vi Marketing Research Bureau. “Forecast of the Global Immunoglobulin (IgG) Market 2023.” https://marketingresearchbureau.com/list-of-reports/worldwide-immunoglobulin-igg-forecast-2023/ Accessed November 2020.

vii PPTA. Plasma Protein Therapies. Uniquely Saving Lives. https://vault.netvoyage.com/neWeb2/delView.aspx?env=%2FQ7%2Fg%2Fp%2Fe%2Fx%2F~200224085411928.nev&dn=1&v=1&dl=1&p=0&e=&t=FZtvwWhSr10tZ5o1U%2Fj0DY1x908%3D&cg=NG-N9RHSZR6&hd=1&nf=N&s=VAULT-PVPGFHJ2. Accessed November 2020.

viii Jaworski et al. Bloody Well Pay Them: The Case for Voluntary Remunerated Plasma Collections.” June 2020.