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What is plasma?

Plasma is a key element of blood (55% of the total blood volume). Plasma is the clear straw-coloured liquid portion of blood that remains after red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and other cellular components have been removed. Plasma carries water, salts, and proteins through the body.

More patients across the European Union are diagnosed every year with life-threatening plasma protein-related disorders. This means certain proteins in their body are missing or are deficient. In many cases, plasma-derived medicines are the only treatment option for these severe diseases.

Plasma donation & collection in Europe

Plasma is donated by healthy donors in a process called plasmapheresis. Plasmapheresis removes a donor’s plasma and returns the remaining blood components. Today, PPTA members operate around 160 plasma donation centres in the European Union. After collection, plasma donations are frozen and shipped to a state-of-the-art facility for manufacture into lifesaving plasma-derived medicines.

Donated plasma is a finite starting material

The starting material for plasma-derived medicines is not an infinite resource. As opposed to synthesized pharmaceutical medicines, plasma-derived medicines can only be made using human plasma. Plasma cannot be made in a laboratory. Plasma and its lifesaving proteins can only be obtained from donors who generously donate throughout the year.

Plasma is essential

Any decline in plasma donations can potentially impact the availability of plasma-derived medicines. Therefore, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) considers plasma for manufacturing plasma-derived medicines to be essential. In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, plasma donations declined about 20% compared to 2019. Decreased plasma donations mean serious health consequences for the hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children living with these conditions, as well as countless others facing trauma and emergency medical needs every day.


Production starts with synthetic or chemical ingredients.

Plasma proteins

Production starts with a biological starting material, human plasma.

Per patient per year:

Support the need to increase plasma donations in Europe by signing this call for support:

  • If you consider more plasma should be collected across Europe, to meet the growing need of patients for plasma-derived medicines

  • If you want to ask policymakers to put in place the most appropriate EU or national policy frameworks leading to significantly increased plasma collection in Europe