UK plasma supplier sold to US private equity firm Bain Capital
The Government was tonight accused of gambling with the UK’s blood supply by selling the state-owned NHS plasma supplier to a US private equity firm.
The Department of Health overlooked several healthcare or pharmaceutical firms and at least one blood plasma specialist before choosing to sell Plasma Resources UK to Bain Capital, the company co-founded by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, in a £230m deal.
PRUK has annual sales of around £110m and is comprised of two companies employing 200 people at Bio Products Laboratory (BPL) in Elstree, Hertfordshire, and more than 1,000 at DCI Biologicals Inc in the US.
DCI collects plasma from American donors and sends it to BPL where it is separated into blood proteins, clotting factors and albumin for supply to NHS hospitals in the treatment of immune deficiencies, neurological diseases, and haemophilia.
Critics of the deal warned the Tory government that Bain Capital was the wrong company to own the NHS plasma supply line.
Lord Owen, the former Health Minister, wrote to the Prime Minister asking him to halt the sale.
He wrote: “In 1975, against some resistance from those guarding the finances of the DHSS budget, I decided as Minister of Health to invest in self-sufficiency in the UK for blood and blood products, I now believe this country is on the point of making exactly the same mistake again. The world plasma supply line has been in the past contaminated and I fear it will almost certainly continue to be contaminated.”
His plea fell on deaf ears and on being informed of the sale Lord Owen commented:
“It’s 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. Bain Capital should not have been chosen for this sale. Is there no limit to what and how this coalition government will privatise?”
Plasma donors at DCI centres in the US receive cash for each donation, typically around $25 for the first visit and $20 for any subsequent visit. People can donate up to twice a week.
The majority of NHS hospital plasma supplies come from PRUK, which sources all its plasma in the United States across DCI’s network of 32 donor centres.
Hedge Fund Bain UK expanding in the UK
The Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), co-owned by Bain UK already caters for the bulk of all private patients in London and runs a number of joint NHS ventures, renting building space from public hospitals for exclusively private treatment.
An in depth report can be found here. It is scary stuff!!!