December 17, 2020

Portugal – Immunoglobulin supply tensions

We are all aware that there has been a worldwide decrease in plasma donations, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, essential for the creation of drugs such as Immunoglobulin. It was after Johan Prevot (IPOPI Executive Director) mentioned this at the IPOPI Global Patients Meeting that APDIP decided to contact the biggest Immunoglobulin suppliers in Portugal. One of the companies that supplies more than 60% of the immunoglobulin in Portugal, informed us that they won’t be able to supply Portugal as of January 2021. This information sounded alarm bells.

APDIP contacted Infarmed (the Portuguese government agency responsible for regulating human medicines and health products) about the situation, explaining the impact on patients if immunoglobulin would be out of stock in the hospitals. Infarmed issued an announcement warning hospitals, and particularly the health professionals, to only use immunoglobulin in cases where there is no alternative treatment, like PID patients, so the available stock may last longer.

Companies do say that they could sell more immunoglobulin to Portugal but an extraordinary tender would have to be launched by the Portuguese government which hasn’t happened so far.
APDIP and a group of Immunologists wrote a letter to the Portuguese government explaining the severity of the situation. A local weekly news magazine ‘Visão’ exposed this situation after they were contacted by APDIP. The article explained the severity of the situation. We hope this will help decision makers guarantee the continuity of PID treatments in Portugal.