On July 20th and 21st, NHF represented the bleeding disorders community at the Blood Products Advisory Committee (BPAC) meeting in Washington, DC. An advisory committee of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), BPAC reviews and evaluates data on the safety, effectiveness, and appropriate use of blood and blood products. On the agenda were updates of the most recent meetings of two other key committees, the Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies Advisory Committee (TSEAC) and the Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability (ACBSA).
An epidemiologist with the CDC, and a representative of the American Association of Blood Banks gave a presentation on the epidemiology and virology of the H1N1 influenza (swine flu) virus and its impact on the US blood system. Finally, CDC and FDA staff presented on new hemovigilance strategies, including a new reporting tool for hospitals to monitor adverse reactions in patients and quality control incidents associated with blood transfusions. These efforts enhance the agencies' ability to monitor the safety of blood products. The hemovigilance module of the National Healthcare Safety Network is being piloted at nine facilities across the country.