Key outcomes: "Ensuring a robust and flexible framework for blood supply for transfusions in the EU"

“Ensuring a robust and flexible framework for blood supply for transfusions in the EU”

The Blood Transfusion Association (BTA) held its inaugural event, “Ensuring a robust and flexible framework for blood supply for transfusions in the EU”this past 6 December. The in-person breakfast was held in the European Parliament (Brussels) from 08:30 – 10:00 am and was co-hosted by MEP Andreas Glück, shadow rapporteur of the SoHO file (Renew, Germany) and MEP Radka Maxová (S&D, Czech Republic). 

The event was perfectly timed to discuss the implications of the upcoming SoHO regulation and ahead of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council of Minister scheduled for 9 December. The focus of the reunion was to discuss the main factors coming into play in order to ensure a strong structure for blood supply policy and safe transfusion.

The BTA event had the participation of speakers representing European institutions, blood establishments and blood bag set manufacturers. In this sense, Ms. Deirdre Fehily, Policy Officer in the SoHO team at the European Commission,  Dr. Dragoslav Domanovic, European Blood Alliance’s Medical Director, and finally Mr. Nigel Talboys, President of the BTA and Director of Global Government Affairs and Public Policy at Terumo Blood and Cell Technologies shared their respective introductory remarks, which later gave way to a fruitful discussion among them and the participants.

Key Takeaways

The key topics discussed stressed the need for a legislative framework that guarantees donor and patient safety and the introduction of processes that reduce the risks, including, those related to human error. In terms of innovation, the speakers highlighted that a flexible alignment with scientific and technological development, as well as harmonisation of the validation processes is needed to procure that new innovations such as new medical devices or blood components can be implemented into the systems in a timely manner. 

Likewise, both the speakers and participants underscored the crucial role of stakeholders in ensuring safe blood supply to Europe, especially blood bag manufacturers. In this sense, it was concluded that the industry and other stakeholders such as the European Blood Alliance (EBA), should have increased involvement in European expert bodies such as the EDQM, and especially in the SoHO Coordination Board (SCB) to achieve transparency and coordination.

Lastly, regarding health protection and safety of workers, the attendees remarked that, considering the Directives' provisions, the risk of exposure must be decreased to the lowest level possible to appropriately safeguard the health and safety of the affected personnel.

Overall, the event encouraged EU institutions and relevant stakeholders to work together to ensure a strong and flexible framework for blood supply for transfusions in the EU.  A call that was heard and acknowledged throughout the meeting.

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