Drug Control authorities seize unit selling blood plasma

Sealed bags were cut open and re-sealed, compromising on sterility and hygiene

State Drug Control authorities raided a drug distributor in Kukatpally on Saturday, where they unearthed unauthorised packaging of frozen plasma under unhygienic conditions.

Sources in drug control administration said the firm was licensed to sell medicines on wholesale basis but was procuring plasma without obtaining requisite permits. When drug inspectors raided the unit, a room with five people, they discovered that the staff was cutting open sealed plasma bags and later sealing them.

“Around 2,000 units were seized. The unit was not permitted to procure or sell plasma. The staff only had gloves and surgical mask in the room without other necessities for handling plasma,” an official said asking for anonymity. The drug control administration sought not to disclose the name of the firm or its proprietor citing an ongoing investigation.

Fresh Frozen Plasma (FFP) is used to treat conditions that cause deficiencies in blood, like clotting factors. It is obtained through a blood donation exercise. After the plasma is exposed to room temperature for thawing, it is recommended for immediate use.

Drug inspectors found that staff at the Kukatpally unit not only caused plasma to melt to a liquid state when there was no scope for immediate use, they also cut open sealed packets to remove some of the contents for testing. They later resealed the packs in conditions which officials described as a compromise of sterility and hygiene.

“Handling plasma requires care. If it has been obtained from an HIV or HCV infected person, it can pose a risk to the person handling it,” the official said, adding that the source of the stock seized and the destination, is yet to be determined.

Illicit sale of FFP is on the radar of authorities given the demand and high cost of blood derivatives. Often, such businesses procure plasma that is close to or past its expiry date to extract components.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 5:20:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/drug-control-authorities-seize-unit-selling-blood-plasma/article24787270.ece

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