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The economics of blood: gift of life or a commodity?

Kanavos, Panos, Yfantopoulos, J., Politis, C. and Vandoros, C. (2006) The economics of blood: gift of life or a commodity? International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care, 22 (3). pp. 338-343. ISSN 0266-4623

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Objectives: To calculate the costs of blood collection, testing, storage, and transfusion in Greece. Methods: Costing information was collected from two large public hospitals, in Athens and Crete, that also act as blood banks. Given that private health care accounts for 40 percent of total health spending, the same costs were also considered in a private setting by collecting key reagent cost data from a leading private hospital in Athens. Mainly direct costs were considered (advertising campaigns, personnel, storage and maintenance, reagent costs, transportation costs from blood bank to end-use hospitals, and cross-matching and transfusion costs in receiving hospitals) and some indirect costs (opportunity cost of blood donorship). Results: Captive donorship accounts for over 50 percent of the national blood supply. A unit of blood transfused would cost between €294.83 and €339.83 in public hospitals and could reach €413.93 in a private facility. This figure may be an underestimate, as it excludes opportunity costs of blood transfusion for patients and the healthcare system. Conclusions: Blood has a significant cost to the health system. Policy makers and practitioners should encourage its rational use, build on current policies to further improve collection and distribution, encourage further volunteer donorship in Greece, and also consider alternatives to blood where the possibility exists.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2006 Cambridge University Press
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Journal of Economic Literature Classification System: I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I1 - Health > I11 - Analysis of Health Care Markets
I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I1 - Health > I18 - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
Sets: Departments > Social Policy
Collections > Economists Online
Research centres and groups > LSE Health
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2008 08:58

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