PPTA Statements

Plasma Donors Should be Celebrated, not Denigrated

The Guardian published an editorial on October 21 by Arwa Mahdawi that relies heavily on a 2015 article that intentionally sought to perpetuate a divisive representation of plasma donors’ commitments and motivations – Ms. Mahdawi used those negative insinuations in a broader attempt to castigate the U.S. and its public support programs. The Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association (PPTA) and its member companies are grateful for every plasma donor, each of whom directly contributes to saving and improving the lives of people facing serious, inherited, and life-threatening diseases.

Today, when faced with a significant decline in plasma donations due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, every plasma donor deserves our deepest respect, gratitude, and appreciation, not negative characterizations and stereotypes. Even Ms. Mahdawi understands how essential plasma donation is by noting “it is something we should all do if we can: plasma is desperately needed for life-saving therapies.”

Patients around the world who rely on plasma-derived therapies could not agree more. In fact, because of the sharp decline in plasma donation wrought by the current pandemic, we can reasonably expect that the reduction in plasma collections currently being experienced could cause challenges to patient access in the months to come.

Ms. Mahdawi clearly does not object to compensating plasma donors, “as long it is strictly regulated, the number of donations safely capped, and the pay fair.” This industry is committed to the health and safety of every person who donates plasma at approximately 1,000 plasma donation centers in the United States and in Europe, and it adheres to stringent regulations, both in the U.S. and internationally, so that only those who are healthy enough to donate plasma can do so. Additionally, PPTA member companies’ plasma collection centers are certified by the International Quality Plasma Program, a rigorous, voluntary program that goes beyond regulatory requirements to help ensure donor safety. Although different countries have varying regulations regarding plasma collection, no single regulatory scheme is better than another; all regulations are in place to ensure donor safety and the safety and efficacy of the finished therapies.

While people’s reasons for donating their plasma are as varied as the diseases treated by access to plasma protein therapies, it is true that some people do so to lessen financial stress or to earn some extra income to help friends or loved ones. A letter published in 2018 by more than two dozen ethicists and economists explains that compensating donors is ethical and is intended to recognize their commitment and inconvenience.

Quite simply, plasma donors save lives, and PPTA, its member companies, and patient stakeholder groups worldwide continue to advocate with local, regional, national, and international authorities to address donation shortfalls seen because of the pandemic. Further, we are using our collective voices to raise awareness of the urgent need for plasma donation. While we are glad that Ms. Mahdawi recognizes how essential plasma donation is for countless individuals, perhaps she would consider using her editorial space to urge her readers to donate by helping them understand how essential they are and how urgent the need is, rather than insulting and victimizing plasma donors and the patients who rely on plasma-derived therapies as part of an attempt to critique public support programs.

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New York and California recognize the importance of plasma donation

The Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association (PPTA) is pleased by recent actions taken in California and New York, two of the most populous states in the country, that show the growing recognition of the importance of plasma donation. In New York, the Department of Health released emergency regulations that revise requirements for the Collection of Blood Components. These revisions simplify the regulatory landscape for source plasma1 donation in New York by harmonizing New York State requirements with national standards. The changes should enhance plasma availability, while maintaining high blood safety standards.

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PPTA Testifies at USITC COVID-19 Related Goods Hearing

On Wednesday, September 23, at the invitation of the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC), PPTA President & CEO, Amy Efantis testified before the USITC at a virtual hearing on COVID-19 Related Goods: The U.S. Industry, Market, Trade, and Supply Chain Challenges. The main messages that PPTA conveyed were that the plasma protein therapeutics industry is built on a complex, global supply chain that must be preserved to ensure access for the patients that depend on it. Additionally, it is of vital importance that the Administration continue to support policies that encourage plasma donation.

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PPTA Opposes Executive Order That Would Threaten Access to Plasma Protein Therapies

The most recent White House executive order, issued September 13 and calling for a “most favored nation” Medicare drug pricing program, is ill-advised and risks the lives of vulnerable U.S. patients who rely on access to plasma protein therapies (PPTs). PPTs are non-interchangeable, single-source products which might not be available in some reference countries. 

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PPTA Repeats Appeals for Plasma Donations

The Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association is steadfast in its mission to promote the availability of, and access to, safe and effective plasma protein therapies for patients around the world. We call on all eligible adults to donate plasma – whether you are someone recovered from COVID-19 or not, your plasma is needed to save lives, now. By donating plasma today, you are directly helping to save the lives of babies born with primary immune deficiencies, bleeding disorders, and other rare conditions, as well as patients who rely on plasma therapies in emergency and critical-care contexts.

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White House Roundtable: “We’re in this Together”

Yesterday, President Trump, senior officials within his Administration, and representatives from the plasma and blood communities agreed that plasma donation is a national imperative, recognizing how essential plasma is and urging Americans to donate their plasma. Paul Perreault, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of CSL Ltd. represented the CoVIg-19 Alliance, “an unprecedented partnership of world-leading companies” dedicated to the development of a hyperimmune globulin with the potential to treat people seriously impacted by COVID-19. He took the opportunity presented by participating in the White House Roundtable to issue a call for all Americans to donate plasma, even those who have not had COVID-19, and to urge the Administration to support the industry’s effort to develop a hyperimmune to combat COVID-19.

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PPTA Responds to July 24 White House Executive Orders

White House executive orders issued on July 24 calling for a “favored nations” and drug importation program are ill-advised and risk the lives of U.S. patients who rely on access to plasma protein therapies. These unique, non-interchangeable and lifesaving therapies treat patients with rare diseases such as primary immune deficiency and bleeding disorders, like hemophilia. The executive order on favored nations would use pricing schemes from countries that often do not make the PPTs used by U.S. patients available, often selecting only one representative drug in a category and artificially setting prices.

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Wall Street Journal: Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

The article published May 3, “Researchers Explore Using Common Blood-Plasma Treatment to Fight Coronavirus,” calls necessary attention to the importance of intravenous immunoglobulin, IVIG, as a lifesaving therapy for people living with a range of serious, genetic, and chronic conditions. Increased use of IVIG as an untested treatment against COVID-19 risks limiting its availability for those patients whose lives rely on regular access to it. For many of these conditions, IVIG remains the only known treatment.

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PPTA Encourages Plasma Donation

President Trump made an appeal for plasma donation a few days ago and is echoing what people with serious, genetic, life-threatening diseases already know plasma donors save lives! Most people had not given much thought to plasma before the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Now, they are learning that plasma from a patient who has recovered from COVID-19 could be used to make therapies to treat others who are sick with the disease and could eventually be used to safeguard health care workers.

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PPTA Reacts to Huffington Post Article

An article published on April 15 by The Huffington Post details a plasma donor’s experience in light of health precautions caused by the spread of COVID-19. The Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association (PPTA), our members, and our patient stakeholder partners all agree, as do authorities across the United States and European Union, that plasma donors and plasma donation center staff are essential parts of our expansive health care infrastructure, especially during these difficult times.

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