United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited announced a new joint initiative focused on strengthening countries' healthcare systems to meet patients' need for plasma and plasma-derived therapies. The initiative will draw on UNITAR's expertise in training and education toward the development of innovative solutions to global challenges and Takeda's deep knowledge of rare disease and the plasma ecosystem. Global demand for plasma has greatly increased over the past 20 years and is continuing to grow due to increasing numbers of patients with rare diseases being diagnosed, as well as higher standards of care and broader access to treatment globally.
This demand for life-changing and life-sustaining plasma-derived therapies far exceeds available supply, resulting in more people around the world struggling to access the treatments they need, especially in low- and middle-income countries. The overall goal of this initiative is to create a neutral, UN-based platform that will bring together experts, policymakers, patient organizations, academia, civil society and the private sector. Through increasing awareness, building partnerships and facilitating access to the latest scientific knowledge and best practices, this platform aims to support countries in finding their own tailored solutions on how to improve the quality of life and life expectancy of patients who rely on plasma-derived therapies.
The project will also focus on complementing and finding synergies with other existing initiatives to improve plasma ecosystems and increase patient access to care. The importance of plasma-derived therapies is affirmed by their inclusion in the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines1, emphasizing their significance for the healthcare system and the need to facilitate access to these products in all countries. Similarly, an increasing number of countries acknowledges the need for and interest in strengthening the resilience of their healthcare systems in the field of plasma supply.
Pending official confirmation, the pilot phase of the current initiative will be implemented in collaboration with two countries, whose forward-thinking participation in this program to bolster their countries' health infrastructure around plasma and the patients plasma-derived therapies can help will serve as a pathfinder for potential expansion of the project in the future. UNITAR will serve as a coordinator of the project, hosting the platform as a collaborative framework for stakeholders to meet, lead informed discussion and lay the groundwork for future collaboration.