The Union health ministry has allowed transfer of blood from one blood bank to another, a move that will help take it to places of scarcity to save lives.
The ministry has also fixed “non-cash” exchange value for surplus plasma available at some blood banks in the country, aiming to increase the availability of essential life-saving medicines.
In a statement, the ministry said that the transfer of blood from one bank to the other was not allowed earlier. “The first step is permitting the transfer of blood from one blood bank to another. This was not allowed earlier and will help in transfer of blood to places of scarcity. Detailed guidelines for proper and efficient transport of blood between banks have been prescribed,” it said.
The ministry said that the step is first of the two initiatives taken by it towards better utilisation of blood and blood components as part of its commitment to ensure safe blood and enhanced access to blood products.
Both the steps were taken as per the recommendation of the National Blood Transfusion Council (NBTC), it said.
“The second step is fixing of an exchange value for surplus plasma available at some blood banks in the country, it said.
Elaborating on the step, the Ministry said that in the absence of the enabling provision, surplus plasma was traded or sold by the blood banks without any regulation earlier.
“Now an exchange value of Rs 1600 per litre of plasma has been fixed and the blood banks with surplus plasma can exchange it for consumables, equipments or plasma derived products as per their need,” it said.
However, the ministry added that this exchange cannot be in terms of cash. “This step is expected to increase the availability of essential life saving medicines like human albumin, immunoglobulins, clotting factors, etc which are all derived from plasma.
This step would also reduce the country’s dependence on import of these products,” it said. The NBTC under the ministry is the apex body for formulating policy matters pertaining to the organisation, operation, standards and training of a sustainable and safe blood transfusion service for the country and was set up under the directions of the Supreme Court.