By: Manoj meda

Mumbai
The Union health ministry is planning to expand the blood component separation facilities in the country to achieve the target of producing 4 lakh litres of plasma from the current 1.5 lakh litres of plasma in the next two years time. This according to an official is proposed to be done by adding 150 new component separation facilities and strengthening the existing ones by enhancing their capacities to 100 per cent which are currently working at only 40 per cent rate.There are a total 1163 facilities in the country which the government intends to monitor to bring about consistent and safe access to blood and blood components to the common man.In order to overcome the challenge of consistent supply of plasma, Union health ministry has also now permitted blood banks having component separation facility to exchange their surplus plasma with indigenous fractionators in the country based on a uniform exchange value of Rs.1,600 per litre of plasma.This will facilitate blood banks provide surplus plasma to indigenous fractionators in the country under the conditions that the fractionators must undertake to fulfill needs of Indian market first. None of the products recovered from the Indian plasma should be exported before fulfilling domestic demand,” according to a senior health ministry order. Demand for plasma currently stands at over 70,000 vials per month in the country, according to official sources. The manufacturers, however, are able to produce only half of the current demand. As per the government’s mandate, modalities for use of exchange value would be finalised by the respective State Blood Transfusion Councils (SBTCs) and would be primarily directed towards ensuring availability of plasma derived products to patients requiring them. According to Maharashtra FDA official, prices of plasma has increased globally because of its consumption and therefore it also has a bearing on the cost of life saving human albumin. It has now become non-profitable for the companies to manufacture it globally and therefore imports have also been impacted and have literally stopped. The technology to produce albumin is capital intensive. A fractionation unit costs worth Rs.500 to Rs.600 crore to process 6 lakh litres or even more of plasma to produce the vital human albumin.The current shortage of human albumin in the country can also be attributed to the limited number of plasma fractionation centres in the country.

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