State Blood Transfusion Council (SBTC) has now written a letter to the National Blood Transfusion Council (NBTC) seeking them to fix a charge for plasmapheresis. Officials said they have received a few complaints of blood banks charging Rs 60,000 to rupees one lakhs for plasmapheresis. Health experts said the state government should look into this matter and regularise the charges or it should be free.
This comes after the SBTC learnt some blood banks were charging exorbitantly for the plasmapheresis. “During the ongoing pandemic the demand for plasma has increased in the city, but we have very less donors due to which the blood banks are overcharging,” said a senior doctor.
He further said the state government needs to look into this matter and regulate the charges and procedure for donating the plasma at the blood banks. “The civic body needs to keep a close tab on the blood banks and direct them to submit a list of plasma donors on a daily basis. Moreover, the list of covid survivors who are willing to donate plasma should be given to all blood banks so that the civic body will know who has donated,” doctor added.
Dr Arun Thorat, assistant director, SBTC said last week they had few complaints of blood banks charging for plasmapheresis, taking into this consideration a letter was sent to NBTC. “Currently there are no fixed charges for plasmapheresis but once NBTC regularises the charges it will be implemented. Even after that blood banks are overcharged, action will be taken against them,” he said.
Doctor working in a BMC blood bank on condition of anonymity said everyone is taking advantage of this ongoing pandemic and has got an opportunity to make profit through it. Blood banks are charging because the demand for plasma is very high and if patients are in urgent need then anyone is ready to pay any amount for it.
"It is very important to stop the black marketing of convalescent plasma, otherwise it will become a full blown money making business. FDA & other regulatory bodies must step in. Further price of convalescent plasma. lt must be fixed. It should be made more readily available at Government blood banks. Donors should be motivated to donate plasma at government blood banks instead of private,” he said.