IBTO Wants to Enhance Plasma Production

There are 27 people per 1,000, donating blood in the country.There are 27 people per 1,000, donating blood in the country.

The annual domestic production capacity for blood bags which stands at around 12,000 exceeds national demand and “we are thinking of expanding our market overseas,” said Ali Akbar Pourfathollah, head of the Iran Blood Transfusion Organization. He did not provide details.

Over two million blood units are donated to the IBTO every year and its annual capacity has currently reached 400,000 liters of plasma production. There are 27 people per 1,000, donating blood in the country, IRNA reported.

Health Minister Hassan Qazizadeh Hashemi had earlier said that there is no problem regarding production and storage of blood products. “We have overcome several challenges in the past four years, including funding, but have resolved all issues related to blood derivatives and blood bag production.”

Pourfatollah noted that IBTO’s plasma production capacity has crossed 150,000 liters per year.

Since 2015 the prices for processed blood products have been fixed on the basis of a directive by the Minister of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare Ali Rabiei.

The blood from donors is pooled and processed at blood transfusion centers and plasma-derived medications are manufactured under the supervision of the public health watchdog, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Iran is the only developing country in the world which has knowledge in plasma production, the IBTO official said.

The Health Ministry has approved the move to increase plasma production, and IBTO has a mandate to increase production by using the ‘pheresis’ method to eliminate the shortage.  Pheresis is a special type of blood donation during which whole blood is taken from a donor, filtered and separated, and a specific component is removed.

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,” he stressed. “Our aim is to increase plasma-derived medications to 100%.  Domestically-produced drugs are not only cost-effective but are also beneficial to public health.”

Replacing imported products with locally produced plasma-derived medication can also help prevent the entry of potential diseases from other countries.

 Helping Tajiks

The IBTO is also sharing technical knowhow in transfusion medicine with the Republic of Tajikistan under a memorandum of understanding signed between the two sides during the visit of Tajik Deputy Minister of Health and Social Protection Nasim Olimov, to Tehran in August 2015, Pourfathollah said.

Since last year, two foreign firms have expressed readiness to invest in blood bag production in Iran. Names of the companies were not available.

“Several local private companies have also expressed readiness to cooperate in increasing plasma production and its derivatives. We are studying the matter.”

Iran is recognized as a top contributor in transfusion medicine by the International Blood Transfusion Society (IBTS) based on its services and scientific contributions.

A study conducted by the IBTO deputy for quality control and technical affairs, shows that 71% of hospitals in 25 provinces have established blood transfusion committees.

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