Shortsighted Border Policy Puts Millions With Chronic Disease at Risk of Blood Plasma Shortages

WASHINGTON--()--In addition to a detailed letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) raising serious concerns over a recent change in federal policy that threatens the U.S. supply of blood plasma and plasma-derived therapies, the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) today issued the following statement:

“The recent CBP decision to shut down compensated blood plasma donations from people crossing the border into the U.S. (largely from Mexico) overlooks the significant need for plasma that the current COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated both in increasing demand and limiting donations. This decision also highlights a notable disconnect in communications among the very federal agencies that are working tirelessly to make much needed progress to end this pandemic.

“A number of chronic conditions rely on blood plasma and plasma-derived products for treatment, to assist with blood clotting and counter blood loss or other blood volume declines. For example, treating one person with the blood clotting disease hemophilia for a year requires 1,200 plasma donations.1 There are more than 200 different forms of primary immune deficiency affecting about 500,000 people in the United States.2 To treat one person with primary immune deficiency disorder for a year requires 130 plasma donations.3 Further, 75 active clinical trials are currently ongoing in the U.S. investigating the use of blood plasma therapies to treat a host of serious illnesses, including COVID-19-related illnesses.

“Clearly the need for blood donations is significant. Given that plasma donations are already down 20 percent because of COVID, this recent change poses considerable concern.

“We urge DHS and CBP to halt implementation and reverse this decision to allow other government agencies to better understand and evaluate the grave implications of this policy, particularly as we continue to weather the COVID-19 pandemic and navigate a path forward.”

The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease (PFCD) is an international coalition of patient, provider, community, business and labor groups, and health policy experts, committed to raising awareness of the number one cause of death, disability and rising health care costs: chronic disease.

1 Plasma - Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association (PPTA) (
2 Primary Immune Deficiency Diseases (PIDDs) | NIH: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
3 Plasma - Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association (PPTA) (


Jennifer Burke