NEW SYSTEM FOR BLOOD PLASMA SUPPLY IN NORWAY
As of 1 July this year, the supply of blood plasma for Norwegian patients will be secured through contributions from European blood banks. The Norwegian Procurement services for Health Enterprises (Helseforetakenes innkjøpsservice HINAS) has formed an agreement with Baxter AS that entails an historic change to the management of blood plasma in Norway.
Media contacts Sverre Slaastad, +47 90 95 21 28 Hans Erik Heier, Ullevål University Hospital, +47 95 93 87 94 Oslo, 9 June 2009 – As of 1 July the healthcare company Baxter will purchase, collect and retrieve blood plasma from all of the nation’s 60 blood banks, and send the plasma to Baxter’s fractionation centre in Austria where the blood plasma is processed. Hospitals in all of Norway and Europe will subsequently purchase the plasma products they need from Baxter. “In other words, this is a ‘distribution of wealth’: surplus plasma produced by Norwegian blood banks will benefit another blood bank in another European country, and vice versa,” says Hans Erik Heier, Chief Physician at the Department for Immunology and Transfusion Medicine at Ullevål University Hospital. Through the new system, Norwegian patients will receive blood plasma products that are equally secure as those of other European countries. In this manner, Norway secures the future supply of plasma-based medicines used in connection with trauma surgery, treatment of immune system illnesses and neurological illnesses, haemophilia and other bleeding disorders. Secure supply Every year, the blood banks in Norway produce a total of 50 tons of blood plasma. From this, 140 kilos of the antibody and immune protein gamma globulin are produced. The consumption of gamma globulin has increased greatly during recent years and in Norway, there is a need each year for 160 to 170 kilos. “Not because more people are becoming ill but because it is used more frequently in treatment. There are not enough donors here in Norway to meet the demand; we have therefore been obliged to acquire the additional kilos from other EU-approved locations,” says Heier. According to Heier neither patients nor health personnel in Norway will notice that the country has become part of a global market for blood plasma. Greater transparency Three bidders submitted tenders and Baxter’s offer came out on top in terms of price, security of supply, product range and documentation. The contract is for two years with the possibility to prolong it with another two years. “The benefits of the change are increased market competition, a greater degree of objectivity and greater transparency,” says Terje Skansen, Managing Director of HINAS. Baxter is among the world leaders in the field of plasma fractionation, development and production of plasma-based medication and organization of blood bank logistics. This agreement makes Norway the seventh country to use Baxter’s system. Sweden has already been using the system for many years, as have the US, Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic. Also a Red Cross center in Switzerland is supplying plasma to Baxter. “Baxter fully appreciates the fact that this means changing a long-term practice in Norway. We’re looking forward to getting started on 1 July,” says Sverre Slaastad, Country Managing Director of Baxter AS. About Baxter Baxter International Inc. (NYSE:BAX) develops, manufactures and markets products that save and sustain the lives of people with hemophilia, immune disorders, infectious diseases, kidney disease, trauma, and other chronic and acute medical conditions. As a global, diversified healthcare company, Baxter applies a unique combination of expertise in medical devices, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology to create products that advance patient care worldwide. # # #