Croatia Exports Blood Plasma, Imports Expensive Drugs Made From It

Lauren Simmonds

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As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Croatia imports expensive drugs made from blood plasma annually, the process reaches more than one hundred million kuna. None of that would be particularly unusual if the plasma used for these expensive drugs wasn’t Croatian. Sadly, this is the case, but it can only be processed in order for these drugs to be made outside of the country.

Of all Croatian paradoxes, of which there are a great many, this one might take the biscuit. Croatia exports blood plasma and then buys it back in the form of drugs for incomprehensible sums of money. It wasn’t like that in the past.

Once upon a time, this entire process was dealt with by the Institute of Immunology until it all came to an end in 2013.

Now, the Institute of Immunology only collects this Croatian blood plasma in transfusion centres, and then sends outside the country, to Octapharm, and then returns it back to Croatia as a finished product – immunoglobulins and albumins, as reported by 24sata.

According to Slobodna Dalmacija, the Institute of Immunology purchases a litre of blood plasma from transfusion centres for a price of 200 kuna, and then sells it on to the Swiss Octapharma for 300 kuna. That blood plasma is then returned to Croatia in medicines that were once produced by the Institute of Immunology itself. These drugs are becoming more and more expensive due to increasingly rigorous blood tests, which only adds more frustration to this illogical situation.

Doses of albumin made by the Institute of Immunology apparently ranged from 270 to 430 kuna, and doses of immunoglobulin from 650 to about 1250 kuna. Processing plasma into drugs is a lucrative business and is now run by a Swiss company.

The director of the Institute of Immunology, Vedran Cardzic, denies the aforementioned prices at which they buy and then sell the blood plasma, and says that those prices all depend on the type of plasma in question.

”The price of the plasma is defined by the contract between the Institute of Immunology and Octapharma in accordance with the prices of plasma on the market, and the price of the drugs is defined within the prices of drugs from HZZO’s list,” they said from the Ministry of Health when asked if Croatia sells cheap blood plasma, only for it to be returned in the form of expensive medication.

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