Payment for blood donations in Germany

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.310.6976.399b (Published 11 February 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:399
  1. Friedger Von Auer
  1. Head of the division responsible for blood and blood products Federal Ministry for Health, 53108 Bonn, Germany

    EDITOR,—John D Cash, in his letter about proposed payment for blood donors in Germany, says that a statement made by me at the congress of the International Society of Blood Transfusion in Amsterdam in July had given the impression that the German government was planning to introduce a system of payment for all blood donors and that this payment would be DM50 (pounds sterling20) per donation.1 This interpretation of my statement is wrong. What I said was: “In Germany it is considered acceptable for a regular donor to receive a global reimbursement of up to DM50. This has been recommended by the working group on blood. The federal government is of the same opinion and considers it to be in conformity with the recommendations of the Council of Europe.”

    This statement reflects the existing practice of reimbursing expenses in Germany. The introduction of a new system of reimbursing expenses is totally out of the question. Moreover, my statement makes it quite clear that a differentiated system of reimbursing expenses, which is allowed for in the recommendations of the Council of Europe, operates in Germany. According to these recommendations, reimbursing direct travel and real time expenses is admissible, and in Germany the maximum limit for such reimbursements is DM50. Consequently, the various blood and plasma donation services in Germany reimburse different sums of up to DM50; in some cases no reimbursements are paid at all.

    There is absolutely no reason, therefore, for colleagues in the member states of the European Union and the Council of Europe to be concerned about the practice of reimbursing expenses in Germany. What is of decisive importance is the careful selection of donors, which is awarded particular importance in Germany and is subject to constant monitoring and further development. It is because of this that the prevalence and incidence of HIV infection in Germany are quite low.

    The German government also expects to make considerable safety gains in the area of blood and blood products by achieving the goal of self sufficiency. The aim here is to become self sufficient in plasma and plasma products. This is a matter of great priority and it is being pursued energetically. Among other measures the German government is promoting the setting up and expansion of plasmapheresis centres with government funds. The government assumes that in a few years' time self sufficiency will have been achieved.


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