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A Solitary Confinement

A true story about Guillain-Barre Syndrome by
Robin Sheppard

How to Solve the Immunoglobulin Shortage for GBS Patients

June, 2024

Immunoglobulin Shortage: When Sarah learned she had Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS), her life changed drastically. She used to love running and had an active job, but suddenly, she struggled with weak muscles and paralysis. There were treatments available, but they were expensive and hard to find. Sarah’s story is just one example of many. It shows that we need to do something about the high costs and shortage of immunoglobulin that make life difficult for GBS patients worldwide.

The Immunoglobulin Shortage: A Growing Crisis

Immunoglobulin therapy is vital for GBS patients, but the growing demand has caused a significant shortage. Recent statistics predict that the global demand for immunoglobulin products will increase by 6-8% annually while the supply struggles to keep up. This gap between supply and demand leads to limited availability and higher costs, placing patients like Sarah in a difficult position.

The Cost Trap: A Financial Burden

The cost of GBS treatment can be significant. For example, immunoglobulin therapy can cost over $10,000 per session, and patients often need multiple sessions over an extended period. Due to this high cost and shortage, many patients may have to seek alternative funding or may even have to forgo essential treatment, which can further compromise their health.

Strategies to Overcome the Immunoglobulin Shortage

1. Promote Plasma Donations:

  • It is vital to raise awareness about the importance of donating plasma. Incentivising donations has led to a stronger supply chain in countries like the United States.

2. Optimise Usage:

  • Healthcare providers should follow guidelines to ensure the effective use of immunoglobulin. They should prioritise patients in critical need and consider using other treatments when possible.

3. Support Research and Development:

  • Investing in research to develop synthetic or alternative immunoglobulin products can help decrease reliance on plasma-derived immunoglobulin, which can help address shortages in the long term.

Beating the Cost Trap

1. Insurance and Assistance Programs:

  • Remember, it’s important to understand your insurance policies to ensure you get the most coverage for immunoglobulin therapy. You should also look into assistance programs from pharmaceutical companies and non-profit organisations.

2. Government Support:

  • Supporting governmental policies that reduce the cost of immunoglobulin therapy can bring much-needed relief. Countries like Canada and parts of Europe with strong healthcare systems have good examples of organising this support.

3. Community Support:

  • Support groups and community organisations are important for helping GBS patients with financial and emotional support. Our book, A Solitary Confinement, provides resources and support networks for GBS patients, helping them navigate these challenges and find hope in their journey.

A Solitary Confinement: Helping GBS Patients

At A Solitary Confinement, we know how hard it is for GBS patients. We want to help by giving financial help and connecting patients with important resources. We focus on the whole person. Our goal is to improve the lives of people with GBS and help them overcome the challenges of this condition.

The shortage of immunoglobulin and high treatment costs are big challenges for GBS patients. However, we can solve these issues by getting more plasma donations, using treatment efficiently, and providing strong support systems. We can also help by pushing for better insurance coverage, government help, and community support. This can ease patients’ financial burden and ensure they get the necessary care.

How will you take action to support GBS patients and improve their access to essential treatments in the face of these challenges?


  1. Immunoglobulin Demand and Supply Statistics
  2. Cost Analysis of Immunoglobulin Therapy