March 31, 2020

FRANCE – Patients, physicians and hospital pharmacists working together to prevent bad effects of COVID-19 on Ig supply

Because of regular tension on immunoglobulin supply in the country, IRIS, the French national patient organisation is especially worried about the situation linked to the COVID-19 crisis. Indeed, IRIS fears patients will face difficulties due to drop of blood and plasma collection in short to middle term. In addition to this, they can see how this crisis is currently disorganizing the supply due to several factors.

  • For safety reasons, patients were sent home for their regular Ig therapy when possible, often leading to a switch from IV to SC, increasing the current tension on SC. 
  • Patients tend to ask to be delivered for more that the legal lengths (every month), when stock piling by some of them may lead to shortage for others. 
  • The migration of patients leaving in big cities to their family or their houses in the countryside leads to an increased demand in local or regional hospitals that was not expected. 

The 3 parties (IRIS, physicians (CEREDIH), hospital pharmacists (PDMPs specialised working group from the national society of pharmacists) decided to work together to coordinate their efforts and to address the public health authorities with their concerns and potential proposals. The group has formalized its observations and analyses.

They propose:

 . to consider disseminating again the prioritisation list of conditions, stressing its importance where there is tension in supply,

 . to have a meeting with the different stakeholders along the patient’s journey, and try to have them working together, beyond the organizational silos,

 . to prepare for the next important tension, especially linked to the drop of current plasma donation that will be visible in around 6-8 months.

At the moment, two meetings have taken place with the national regulators (ANSM) which shows attentive consideration to the problem.