Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Peter Jaworski on The Case for Voluntary Remunerated Plasma Collections

Peter Jaworski makes the case for allowing compensation of plasma donors in the wealthy nations of the British Commonwealth:

Bloody Well Pay Them: The Case for Voluntary Remunerated Plasma Collections

Here's the executive summary ( a long summary of a long paper):

"•Blood plasma is used in a wide, and growing, range of life-saving therapies. It is now being trialled to treat Covid-19, including by the United Kingdom’s National Health Service.
• There are significant global shortages of blood plasma. Demand is growing at a rate of 6-10% per year. Three-quarters of people do not have access to the appropriate plasma therapy, largely outside of developed countries.
• Shortages are significantly exacerbated by the World Health Organisation’s policy — adopted by the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and some Canadian provinces — to rely exclusively on Voluntary Non-Remunerated Blood Donations (VNRBD).
• The United Kingdom imports 100% of its supply of blood plasma, Canada (84%), Australia (52%), and New Zealand (13%). They are increasingly dependent on imports for blood plasma from countries that remunerate donors. This inflates the global blood plasma price, making it unaffordable for low to middle income countries.
• The United States, which allows remuneration of donors, is responsible for 70% of the global supply of plasma. Together with other countries that permit a form of payment for plasma donations — including Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Czechia —they account for nearly 90% of the total supply. The dependence on a small number of countries is a serious health security threat.
• Non-remunerated donations are estimated to be 2-4 times more expensive than remunerated collections, because of the expense of recruiting and retaining donors, including through marketing. Australia, for example, could save $200 million annually by importing all blood plasma.
• There are significant global shortages of plasma therapies. The growing global demand cannot be met without remuneration.
• The evidence is clear that remunerating individuals for blood plasma donations is safe, would ensure a secure supply of plasma, does not discourage non-remunerated blood donations, and would provide significant patient benefits, including peace of mind.
• In order to ensure a safe, secure, and sufficient supply of plasma therapies, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand should adopt Voluntary Remunerated Plasma Collections (VRPC):
• VRPC means individuals are paid, in cash or in-kind, to give plasma of their own free will. It also means collections using modern deferral and testing techniques, such as deferring higher-risk donors and advanced viral detection tests.
• VRPC would allow the Canzuk countries to at the very least become self-sufficient, and potentially contribute to the humanitarian goal of increasing the global supply of blood plasma for low to middle income countries."

Here's a description of the historical setting:

"On June 11, 2009, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued “The Melbourne Declaration on 100% Voluntary Non-Remunerated Donation of Blood and Blood Components.”  The Declaration was a re-commitment to, what they call, “Voluntary Non-Remunerated Blood Donations” or VNRBD,” as well as to World Blood Donor Day, celebrated every June 14th.  The Declaration set a target date for achieving 100% VNRBD in safe, secure, and sufficient blood and blood products, including plasma-derived medicinal products. That target date was 2020.
"This year will end without a sufficient supply of plasma based on 100% non-remunerated plasma collections, neither will 2030. With each passing year from 2009 to the present, the world has moved further from that target, and closer to being nearly entirely dependent on the United States."


Before publishing the paper, Jaworski solicited some supportive quotes to use as blurbs.  Here's mine:

Nobel Prize winning economist Alvin Roth says of the current over-reliance on the US’ paid donor market:
I find confusing the position of some countries that compensating domestic plasma donors is immoral, but filling the resulting shortage by purchasing plasma from the U.S. is ok.”

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