Blood products

The manufacture of blood products involves separating donated whole blood into red blood cells, platelets and plasma within 24 hours following a donation. We manufacture the blood products needed in hospitals and distribute the plasma separated from whole blood for medicines manufacture. We distribute blood products and medicinal frozen plasma (octaplasLG) to all Finnish hospitals in line with the needs of healthcare.

Bloodservice worker using blood separator.

The use of blood in hospitals has been on the decrease in recent years. The biggest fall in 2023 (4.4%) concerned sales of red blood cells, with 165,550 red blood cell products sold for patient treatment. Sales of platelet products to hospitals were 3.8% down on the previous year at 28,215. Sales of octaplasLG to hospitals by the Blood Service fell by 0.8%. The decrease in the use of products in the long term is due to advances in treatment methods, while challenges in healthcare also play a part, as also seen in 2022.

Product stocks remained manageable throughout the year, thanks to continuing proactive and efficient cooperation between manufacture, blood donation and communications. The need for donors is mainly determined by the need for red blood cells in hospitals. Only during public holidays did platelets, which have a short shelf life, temporarily act as a driver for blood donations.

Relocating to the new manufacturing premises in Vantaa in 2022 significantly improved the manufacture and storage of blood products, including temperature control, which is critical for these products. Operations in the new premises have gone smoothly. Information systems have also been continuously improved and strengthened.

Blood product sales to hospitals

Product, units202120222023change %
Red blood cells (without white blood cells)179 906173 116165 550-4,4 %
Platelet products (including apheresis products)31 67629 31628 215-3,8 %

Supply of plasma units for medicines manufacture

The Blood Service supplies the plasma separated from whole blood to its contracting party (Takeda) for medicines manufacture.

Amounts supplied49 882 litres
177 800 units
49 499 litres
176 500 units
48 555 litres
173 100 units

Use of donated whole blood for preparation of blood products

Red blood cellsPlatelets**
Products used in blood transfusions93 %83 %
Removals related to blood donation3 %-
Removals related to laboratory results and the manufacturing process1 %2 %
Others not used for blood transfusions (expired, returned or supplied for medicines manufacture)3 %*15 %

*Some red blood cells not used for blood transfusions are sent for use as raw material for a medicinal product used for the treatment of porphyria

** Proportions of platelet products; manufactured using only some of the donated whole blood units

In Finland, the use of blood for the treatment of patients is highly efficient. Red blood cell products can be used for about five weeks and platelets for about five days after donation.