The impact of plasma derived therapies in Europe
Plasma-derived therapies are therapies derived from human plasma. They are manufactured using a fractionation process where the relevant proteins in plasma are separated out. Plasma is the single largest component of human blood and contains water, salts, enzymes, antibodies, and other proteins. Plasma-derived therapies are used to treat a wide range of (rare) diseases, from bleeding disorders and inhibitor deficiencies, to primary and secondary immunodeficiencies.
The number of patients affected by diseases requiring treatment with plasma-derived therapies is increasing. This trend coincides with escalating concerns over the supply of the raw material in the longer term, and a heavy reliance in Europe on plasma imports from the US.
Against this background, the pharmaceutical company, Takeda, commissioned Copenhagen Economics to inform the debate by investigating the value of plasma-derived therapies for patients and the wider economy, a task that included researching policy options to secure the supply of plasma in the future.
We identified the following key findings:
- The number of patients that can benefit from plasma-derived therapies is significant. We estimate that more than 1 million Europeans are affected by one of the 12 most common rare diseases that can be treated with plasma-derived therapies. Some of these diseases, such as primary immunodeficiency disease (PID), have no alternative treatments to plasma-derived therapies.
- The plasma-derived therapies industry supports the European economy. These economic impacts are manifested through direct, indirect and induced effects. In other words, further to the direct effect stemming from the production within the plasma-derived therapies industry, the economic effects cascade across the broader supply chain, including subcontractors and the value created for employees.
- The plasma-derived therapies industry is constrained due to the scarcity of donated human plasma, and Europe has relied heavily on imported plasma. While some of the market issues surrounding the industry could be alleviated through more effective procurement, a re-evaluation of donation schemes would be needed to secure the European plasma supply.