NEWS

Drive to cut down blood cost as Red Cross reduces supply

The Swiss Red Cross is to reduce its supplies of blood to Greek hospitals due to delays in state payments, it emerged on Tuesday, as experts warned that the fragmentation of the country’s blood donation services and the high cost of the anticoagulants required for blood collection make the whole process extremely expensive for the cash-strapped state.

According to the Swiss organization’s nonprofit transfusion service, Greece has been receiving around 30,000 blood sacks, containing half a liter of blood each, annually. This is expected to be gradually reduced with the aim of being halved by 2020.

One of the key problems in Greece is the inordinately high cost of collecting, processing and distributing blood, which works out at around 410 euros per bag of blood compared to 150 euros in Switzerland, according to the head of the Panhellenic Federation of Blood Donors, Christos Protopappas.

“Each hospital with a blood donation service does its own tests and procures its own anticoagulants,” Protopappas said, adding that centralizing services “would obviously reduce costs.” He added that some 30,000 units of blood, worth 12.5 million euros, goes to waste each year after passing its maximum permitted storage period.

Deputy Health Minister Fotini Skopouli told Kathimerini that the ministry aimed to reduce costs and would hold a new tender for the supply of anticoagulants in August.

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