Swiss Red Cross cuts blood supply to broke Greece

February 26, 2013 by Frank Jordans

(AP)—The Swiss Red Cross is slashing its supply of donor blood to Greece because the financially stricken country has failed to pay its bills on time, the head of the group's transfusion service said Tuesday.

Rudolf Schwabe confirmed Swiss media reports that Greece had run up debts of several million Swiss francs (dollars) in the past. While those debts have since been repaid, the nonprofit SRC has decided to halve its blood shipments to Greece in the coming years in order to limit its financial risk, he said.

Greece's international creditors have demanded the government cut spending on pharmaceutical products as part of bailout agreements.

The Swiss blood sent to Greece comes from unused emergency stockpiles and is designated for humanitarian use. In the past, the SRC charged Greece 5 million Swiss francs ($5.4 million) to cover its costs for supplying 28,000 blood packets a year.

The Swiss blood shipped to Greece helps meet demand from the country's thalassemia sufferers. An estimated 3,000 people in Greece with a severe form of this genetic disorder—also known as Mediterranean anemia—need regular transfusions amounting to some 130,000 packets a year.

"That's why we had long talks with the Greek Health Ministry," Schwabe said. The Swiss will gradually reduce their shipments to Greece to 14,000 packets a year by 2020, while at the same time providing the country with expertise to develop its own blood donor system, he said. "That way there will be no humanitarian problem."

Greek Health Ministry officials insisted that Greece had always fulfilled its side of the deal with the Swiss, and the reduction of imports was part of a plan to boost domestic donations, which currently amount to some 670,000 packets every year.

Explore further: Drug approved for inherited blood disorder

shares

Related Stories

Drug approved for inherited blood disorder

January 24, 2013
(HealthDay)—Exjade (deferasirox) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to remove excess iron in the blood among people with a genetic blood disorder called non-transfusion-dependent thalassemia (NTDT).

Apple pays Swiss rail $21mn over clock dispute, report says

November 10, 2012
US tech giant Apple has dished out 20 million Swiss francs ($21 million, 17 million euros) to compensate Swiss national rail operator SBB for using its famous clock without permission, a Swiss daily reported Saturday.

US blood supply dips to 'emergency' level: Red Cross

June 26, 2012
The blood supply maintained by the US Red Cross has fallen to "emergency levels" as donations have ebbed due in part to an early warm weather spell, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

Recommended for you

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

Team eradicates hepatitis C in 10 patients following lifesaving transplants from infected donors

April 30, 2017
Ten patients at Penn Medicine have been cured of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) following lifesaving kidney transplants from deceased donors who were infected with the disease. The findings point to new strategies for increasing ...

'bench to bedside to bench': Scientists call for closer basic-clinical collaborations

March 24, 2017
In the era of genome sequencing, it's time to update the old "bench-to-bedside" shorthand for how basic research discoveries inform clinical practice, researchers from The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), National Human Genome Research ...

The ethics of tracking athletes' biometric data

January 18, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—Whether it is a FitBit or a heart rate monitor, biometric technologies have become household devices. Professional sports leagues use some of the most technologically advanced biodata tracking systems to ...

Financial ties between researchers and drug industry linked to positive trial results

January 18, 2017
Financial ties between researchers and companies that make the drugs they are studying are independently associated with positive trial results, suggesting bias in the evidence base, concludes a study published by The BMJ ...

Best of Last Year – The top Medical Xpress articles of 2016

December 23, 2016
(Medical Xpress)—It was a big year for research involving overall health issues, starting with a team led by researchers at the UNC School of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health who unearthed more evidence that ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.