ITALY – Umbilical cord stem cell collection starts with info in pharmacies

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Getting information and advice in the pharmacy to collect and store umbilical cord stem cells abroad: this is the service provided by the Clic-care system, a brand managed by a company operating in the home assistance sector, and already present in pharmacies in Milan. The company recently issued a statement presenting the service. A service in which each pregnant woman, according to the company’s website, can request directly at the pharmacy to reserve a free consultation appointment for information on storing umbilical cord stem cells. Storage which, according to Italian law, can only be done in public stem cell banks for public use, not in private banks.

After a free telephone interview in which women can learn and understand the procedure to store stem cells, the company promises that it will take care of all of the paperwork required by Italian law as well as practical aspects of the process. After birth, the cells are handed over to specialized technicians in the hospital who will send them to the United Kingdom, where the cells will be deposited and stored in a private center. Periodically, the family will be informed about new goals and available cures. The president of the Italian National Federation of Pharmacy Owners (Federfarma), Anna Rosa Racca, said, “currently, Federfarma is collecting information on the initiative to assess the various aspect”.

Exporting umbilical cords abroad to be stored and collecting umbilical cord stem cells for autologous use “is possible if done according to Italian law. It is necessary to evaluate whether the other services offered by private companies in Italy respect all of the laws,” said Alessandro Nanni Costa, the director of the National Transplant Center (CNT) said regarding clic-care.

In Italy, said Nanni Costa, “collecting stem cells for autologous use and private banks to store them is not allowed. For exports abroad, we offer counseling to inform pregnant women about collection methods, storage, and use. The women must fill out a form about autologous collection on the CNT website”. Then they must obtain the necessary certification from the regional Health Department, and then must ask for authorization from the Health Ministry.

When this procedure has concluded, the umbilical cord can be sent abroad. “If all of these regulations are satisfied, along with all of the other requirements, like those for health-related advertisements, the service offered by these private companies is legal. But it is necessary to assess whether the information is correct and to understand exactly what they offer and how. If the information is not correct, then we will evaluate the timetable and methods to intervene”.

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