The Plasma Resources UK sell-off

Plasma Resources UK, responsible for the supply of plasma products to the NHS and until now a key component of the NHS, has been sold to Bain Capital, a US private equity fund. Bain Capital, infamous for its record of hostile takeovers and asset stripping, somehow managed to acquire Plasma Resources UK for just £90 million (only 80% of its annual turnover).

An open market in plasma products increases the chances of lower standards for selecting donors, lax infection control, and greater likelihood of patients becoming infected with lethal diseases. For example,  the 2009 Archer Report into the widespread contamination of blood supplies given to those affected by Haemophilia highlighted the problems of companies trying to keep their costs down by not being thorough where donor selection is concerned.

For more background information, see


As David Owen has said

It is hard to conceive of a worse outcome for a sale of this particularly sensitive national health asset than a private equity company with none of the safeguards in terms of governance of a publicly quoted company and being answerable to shareholders.

At the moment, the sale of Plasma Resources UK appears to have no direct implications for NHS Blood and Transplant, the service that collects and distributes blood products (red cells, platelets etc) from unpaid donors. However, if there is little outcry over the sale of Plasma Resources UK, perhaps the government may start to consider selling off the blood service.

You can express your concern about the sale of Plasma Resources UK by writing to Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills at or alternatively send a letter to him at:

Ministerial Correspondence Unit,

Department for Business, Innovation & Skills

1 Victoria Street


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