BrusselsNew step forward and almost definitive of the European regulations that will allow big pharmaceuticals to reward blood plasma donors, which can benefit (and greatly) the business model of Grifols. This Wednesday, the member states have agreed that the European Union can pay the expenses that volunteers have to bear every time they make a donation, in the same line as what was already agreed by the European Parliament last September.
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In this way, although the Council of the EU (the member states) and the Eurochamber still have to negotiate the final text of the new law, the two European institutions agree on the will to legalize rewards to donors. Therefore, despite the fact that the final legislative text still needs to be formally closed, it is already certain in practice that multinationals in the sector such as the Catalan Grifols, which makes medicines with plasma proteins, will be able to reward volunteers who donate this blood component .
According to the text of the agreement to which the ARA has had access, “plasma donors will be able to receive reimbursements for actual expenses related to the donation,” such as “losses related to their participation.” This can be, for example, the cost of transport, per diems or, among others, the hours lost at work. The total and calculation of the rewards will be established exactly by the member states when they transpose the European regulations into their legislation and will “have to include a limit that guarantees financial neutrality”. In other words, make sure that no volunteer gets away with making money when making a donation.
Donors may receive compensation for transport expenses, per diems or, among others, for lost hours of work
The only difference between the agreement of the Council and the European Parliament is the extent to which the calculation of payments is restricted. The Eurochamber insists on the fact that the expenses that can be reimbursed are calculated using objective and standardized criteria, while the European partners are betting on a more ambiguous legislative text that gives more leeway to the states when defining why and how many money must be paid by donation. This is the main stumbling block that is foreseen in the negotiations between the two institutions, because European Parliament sources fear that some member states will take advantage of the loophole of this lack of definition to allow volunteers to end up receiving more money than it cost them to do. the donation
In any case, the Twenty-seven – along the same lines as the Eurochamber – include in the regulations the fact that states must inform of the general conditions that a donor must meet in order to receive financial compensation and that ‘update “without undue delay if they are changed”. In addition, state governments “shall take necessary steps to ensure that any activity, promotion or advertising in support of plasma donation does not include reimbursements as a promotional element.”
Spain and Germany, two opposing visions
There are countries, such as Spain, which this semester presides over the Council of the EU, which have traditionally been very strict in not paying blood or plasma donors. In contrast, there are states, such as Germany, which is the most influential country in the EU, which are more flexible in allowing volunteers to receive higher amounts of money. In fact, Germany, together with Austria, the Czech Republic and Hungary, are some of the states that today already allow compensation by taking advantage of the legal gap at European level regarding plasma donations. Sometimes, donors even end up making money in these countries, which causes a ripple effect on citizens of border states with more restrictive legislation.
Finally, despite the two opposing views, an agreement has been reached that allows for compensation, but not for the donor to end up benefiting financially. And, although it is intended that altruism will continue to be the motive force of the volunteers, they will now have more incentives to donate plasma and, therefore, Grifols will have more facilities to obtain this blood component, which it now has to import in large quantities quantities and at a higher price from the United States.
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