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.

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