No Progress on Blood Plasma Refining Complex

Establishment of a blood refinery will help meet the domestic demand for blood components.Establishment of a blood refinery will help meet the domestic demand for blood components.

A 22,000 sq meter of land in Tehran given to the Iranian Privatization Organization (IPO) in 2014 for establishment of a blood plasma refining complex by inviting private companies, has failed to make progress after a lapse of two years, said Ali-Akbar Pourfathollah, head of the Iranian Blood Transfusion Organization (IBTO), on Tuesday.

The IBTO has given a one-year deadline to the IPO, affiliated to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance, to  start the project “otherwise the contract between the two organizations would be canceled and the unused land taken back,” ISNA quoted him as saying.  

The land is located behind the IBTO building and in the vicinity of Milad Tower.

The project aims to increase plasma-derived medications to 100% from the current local production rate of 75%.

Availability of blood and blood components is recognized as one of the most important goals of healthcare systems around the world.

Establishment of a blood refinery for isolating blood components like factor VII, IX, X will contribute to meeting the domestic demand for blood components.

“The current level of plasma production in the country is 400,000 liters, but there is still a deficit of 200,000 liters to reach self-sufficiency,” he added.

At least 600,000 liters of plasma is required to be produced annually to achieve the full domestic demand for factor VIII, an essential blood-clotting protein, also known as anti-hemophilic factor (AHF), which is derived from plasma.

According to the Iranian Hemophilia Society (IHS) at present, 4,386 patients with Hemophilia A suffer from deficiency of factor VIII. Also, 930 patients suffer from Hemophilia B, a disorder caused by a lack of factor IX.

“That’s why we want to increase our plasma production to 600,000 liters,” Pourfatollah stressed.

Factor IX, Albumin, Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) are other plasma-derived products that are produced in sufficient quantity.

  Donated Blood Not Sold

Pourfathollah also denied reports that donated blood was being sold in hospitals. “We only charge the costs related to collecting, testing, preparing blood components and labeling and storing blood. Insurance provides almost full coverage for 14 services provided by the IBTO.”

“In rural areas patients should pay only a 5% of the cost of the services and in urban areas it is 7%,” he said.

Blood transfusion is an integral part of the national health system and blood donation is voluntary and not remunerated.

In 1974, following the establishment of the Iranian Blood Transfusion Organization (IBTO), all blood transfusion activities from donor recruitment to production of blood components and delivery of blood and blood products were centralized.

The activities of the IBTO are governed by the laws of the Health Ministry.

Meanwhile, German Biotest, a global company that supplies plasma protein products and biotherapeutic drugs, plans to establish the first blood plasma refinery in the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean region in Iran jointly with an Iranian firm, ISNA reported in July.

Nasser Riyahi, head of Iran’s Drug Importing Union said the refinery would be co-financed by an Iranian company and German Biotest, adding that the deal was worth $200 million.

The German firm is one of the world’s leading companies in plasma drugs.

Riyahi said that Iran is now importing blood plasma drugs and pays 150-160 million euros annually to import the drugs.