Blood components - red cells, platelets, plasma - and plasma-derived medicinal products (PDMPs), such as albumin, immunoglobulins, coagulation factors VIII and IX, are widely used in essential patient treatment.

While blood components are key in major surgery, for the treatment of trauma and acute bleeding, PDMPs are essential in the treatment of chronic life-threatening diseases such as haemophilia or primary immunodeficiencies.

Ensuring their optimal use, that is avoiding their overuse, underuse and inappropriate use, is paramount. The Council of Europe/EDQM has worked on the optimal use of blood components and plasma-derived medicinal products since the 1990s. It organises regular symposia – known as the Kreuth Initiatives – which provide unique platforms for exchanging and discussing current clinical practices and projections of future developments across the Council of Europe member states. From these symposia, recommendations and/or legal instruments are developed, which aim at providing a course of action to stakeholders and decision-makers in the field to contribute to optimal use and to achieving a higher degree of self-sufficiency.