Plasma donation drive.
Plasma donation drive.
BL Soni

At Rs 5,500/200 ml; earlier, the state had set limits on hospital & ambulance charges; blood banks found in violation risk losing their licences

Amid rising complaints of blood banks and hospitals charging inflated amounts for convalescent plasma, the Maharashtra Government on Thursday capped its price at Rs 5,500 per 200 ml. The move comes at a time when it was being sold anywhere between Rs 15,000 and Rs 25,000 in various parts of the state, for the treatment of Covid-19 patients. In the course of the pandemic, the government has so far capped hospital and ambulance charges for Covid-19 patients.

Minister of Public Health Rajesh Tope said blood banks and hospitals would have to refund the difference if they were found charging more than Rs 5,500 per 200 ml bag of plasma. He warned that despite the capping of the rates, if blood banks, both private and trust-run, continued to charge more, the government would cancel their licences. ‘’If the plasma bag is made available with a NAT test report, the charges for the test have been fixed at Rs 1,200, excluding the plasma bag,’’ he said. He added that these rates were determined based on the recommendations of a high-level committee established by the State Blood Transfusion Council.

The committee had suggested these rates keeping in mind the cost of collecting plasma by apheresis and the service charges for additional blood tests, as per the National Blood Policy.Tope said, at present, the state government was providing free convalescent plasma therapy for coronavirus patients in the government medical colleges.

The state government had, in June, launched the world’s largest trial-cum-treatment project, wherein the lives of around 500 critically ill Covid 19 patients are expected to be saved by use of this therapy.The president of the Indian Medical Association (Maharashtra), Dr Avinash Bhondwe, has welcomed the state government’s move but suggested that it needs to promote plasma donation in a big way, given the rising demand for it because of the spurt in Covid-19 cases.

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Free Press Journal