Plasma is a strategic resource

Paul F W Strengers, Harvey G. Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


Plasma-derived medicinal products (PDMPs) such as immunoglobulins and clotting factors are listed by the World Health Organization as essential medicines. These and other PDMPs are crucial for the prophylaxis and treatment of patients with bleeding disorders, immune deficiencies, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, and a variety of congenital deficiency disorders. While changes in clinical practice in developed countries have reduced the need for red blood cell transfusions thereby significantly reducing the collection volumes of whole blood and recovered plasma suitable for fractionation, the need for PDMPs worldwide continues to increase. The majority of plasma supplies for the manufacture of PDMPs is met by the US commercial plasma industry. However, geographic imbalance in the collection of plasma raises concerns that local disruptions of plasma supplies could result in regional and global shortages of essential PDMPs. Plasma, which fits the definition of a strategic resource, that is, “an economically important raw material which is subject to a higher risk of supply interruption,” should be considered a strategic resource comparable to energy and drinking water. Plasma collections should be increased outside the United States, including in low- and middle-income countries. The need for capacity building in these countries is an essential part to strengthen quality plasma collection. This will require changes in national and regional policies. We advocate the need for the restoration of an equitable balance of the international plasma supply to reduce the risk of supply shortages worldwide. Strategic independence of plasma should be endorsed on a global level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3133-3137
Number of pages5
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Hematology


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