Octapharma helping to change the paradigm in Portuguese plasma


LACHEN, August 19th 2015: Portugal will receive a continuous flow of blood products from Portuguese plasma for the first time as a result of an historic self-sufficiency initiative supported by Octapharma. Four hospitals in Porto, the second largest city in Portugal, have formed an alliance to end the waste of one of the most important components of the blood which has until now been incinerated in Portugal. On August 13th the first batch of Portuguese plasma resulting from this alliance was processed in Octapharma’s manufacturing plant in Stockholm, Sweden.


Plasma is used to treat numerous diseases at an annual cost of €70 million in imports to Portugal, a country which has an annual waste from voluntary plasma donors of 25,000 plasma units.


As a result of the new alliance Octapharma will process 50,000 bags of Portuguese plasma per year, supplying Portugal with plasma products including virus inactivated plasma, clotting factors VIII and IX, albumin and immunoglobulin. By 2016 Octapharma Portugal expects to process 26% of Portuguese plasma donations.


Prof. Fernando Araújo (MD.), Head of Department of Transfusion Medicine and Blood Bank at the Hospital of São João (CHSJ) in Porto, said: CHSJ, with the support of Infarmed (National Authority of Medicines and Health Products, IP) and the Directorate General of Health, have initiated a project that aims to utilize Portuguese plasma fully. The purpose is to achieve self-sufficiency in inactivated plasma and to reduce the dependence on other blood products. In addition to the ethical benefits this also reduces inappropriate spending. Since April 1st 2015, the CHSJ has not destroyed any validated plasma unit, something pioneering in Portugal which marks the beginning of the end of a non-use of a key resource such as plasma. Our blood donors and the National Health Service recognize this effort and its results and we are confident that other institutions will follow the path initiated by CHSJ.”


Dr. Oliver Hegener, Vice President and Head of International Business unit Critical Care Octapharma AG, said: “It is with great delight to see the Octapharma team harnessing its expertise to support Portugal in this important self sufficiency initiative. Beginning with supplying Octaplas - the leading pathogen inactivated plasma including a unique prion removal technology- the highest standards in quality and safety will be made available to patients in Portugal. This collaboration will improve the supply management of precious therapeutic products such as human plasma and fractionated proteins and making these fully available to Portuguese patients. I am very much looking forward to a trustful and long term relationship.”


Helena Direito, Regulatory Affairs and Technical Director, Octapharma Portugal said: “The realization of this self-sufficiency program in Porto Hospitals is an important first step for the country to join the first line of countries with plasma utilization programs. Octapharma has sought for decades to convince Portuguese authorities and decision-makers of the benefits – in terms of public expenditure as well as for patients - of self-sufficiency programs, this achievement will convincingly demonstrate these advantages.”