Mumbai: With plasma therapy becoming the latest buzzword in Covid-19 treatment, the state home department has taken cognisance of a new thriving racket. Plasma donation from recovered Covid patients has turned into a big money-making swindle in Mumbai and some other places in the state.
In response to the state government’s appeal, Covid-19 patients who have been cured have been gradually coming forward to donate plasma in shortlisted hospitals. However, the home department has come across cases wherein cured, unemployed youths are charging money for their plasma donation, with the prices ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1.50 lakh in the city. The Cyber Cell has launched a special campaign to curb this practice.
The health department has made it mandatory for plasma donors to submit a medical report stating that they are Covid-19 negative, as well as a fitness certificate. However, in some cases, the home department has found that donors are submitting fake certificates.
Home Minister Anil Deshmukh has appealed to the citizens not to be carried away by advertisements for plasma donation on illegal TV channels and the dark web, promising huge sums of money. ‘‘Please be alert. Don’t go by these ads. Due care should be taken while seeking plasma donors, safety should be the top priority,’’ he noted.
Leading Wellness Consultant Dr Swapna Patker said plasma is donated, which means it is free. ‘‘The cost is for bags, tubes, storage and administration of procedure. For this, patients are being charged Rs 10,000 at some places and Rs 20,000 elsewhere. At least the government needs to bear this cost. The main requirement is plasma but that’s coming at a price,’’ she noted.
Deshmukh warned that the police would initiate stern action against those keen to make money by playing with patients’ lives. ‘‘I have directed the police to take strong action against those cheating and taking undue advantage of the situation. I have also appealed that a case be registered at the nearby police station or with the cybercrime cell,’’ he said.