GBS/CIDP Foundation of Canada’s response to CBS’s Blueprint for greater security of immunoglobulin for patients in Canada
September 7, 2022
GBS/CIDP Foundation of Canada, a non-profit patient organization, representing patients afflicted with Guillain-Barré Syndrome, Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy, and variants such as, Multifocal Motor Neuropathy, is in full support of today’s announcement by Canadian Blood Services and Grifols Inc. to partner in a public private contract for plasma collection and fractionation of Canadian plasma for Canadian patients. This is an important step forward in improving security of supply of Immunoglobulin treatments that our GBS, CIDP, and MMN Canadian patients rely on.
In contrast, GBS/CIDP Foundation of Canada believes that the collection of fresh blood, by CBS and Héma-Québec, must remain within the voluntary and non-compensated public domain, and not open to debate.
Today, over 85 percent of the plasma needed in the manufacture of IG for Canada is through compensated collection by for-profit multi-national pharmaceutical companies operating plasma collection sites within the United States. With improved regulations and advances in the manufacturing of plasma-derived medicines, this has led to a perfect safety record for the last 25 years. With safety concerns mitigated, patient concerns are centered on security of supply and Canada meeting the needs of patients as world demand increases.
The Foundation has been a key patient stakeholder at the table with Canadian Blood Services for over a decade. In open consultations with a broad range of stakeholders, CBS, and provincial representatives, we have voiced our support of the efforts by Canadian Blood Services in opening voluntary plasma collection sites and will continue to support their efforts. Unfortunately, although these plasma collection sites will increase our Canadian self-sufficiency of plasma from 15% to 25%, it is not enough to supply vulnerable patients with much needed IVIG at a time when world demand is high and security of supply is at risk. We, along with other patient stakeholders and treating specialists, unanimously requested that CBS and provincial governments explore other ways to aggressively scale up collection to meet demand, including the consideration of public-private partnerships for plasma collection.
We do respect Justice Krever’s recommendations, however, based on what is known 20 years later of the safety profile of plasma-derived medicines, we view this announcement today as a thoughtful response by CBS and the provinces to our calls to increase domestic collection of plasma, in Canada for Canadians, and to mitigate supply risks of much needed IG therapies for Canadian patients.
We will remain committed in having our patient voice heard and will continue to work with blood operators and governments to ensure the safety and availability of blood and plasma products for all Canadians.