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Jalandhar

Posted at: Jun 14, 2019, 8:46 AM; last updated: Jun 14, 2019, 8:46 AM (IST)

Blood banks continue to fleece patients

Blood banks continue to fleece patients

Ajay Joshi
Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, June 13

Despite the government capping the prices on blood units to be given to patients, some licensed blood banks located at private hospitals in the city continue to overcharge with impunity.

In the absence of any check, these hospitals are not only overcharging on the price of whole blood bags, but also the other components of the blood.

As per the government guidelines for recovery of processing charges for blood and blood components, the actual charges levied upon the non-government blood banks are worked as Rs 1,450 per unit for whole blood, Rs 400 for fresh frozen plasma per unit (FFP), Rs 400 per unit for platelet and Rs 250 per unit for cryoprecipitate.

However, violating the guidelines, private blood banks are overcharging whole blood by Rs 1,500 to 3,500, FFP by Rs 450 to Rs 800, platelet units are charged in thousands and cryoprecipitate up to Rs 600.

Private blood banks ask patients to deposit Rs 1,700 with replacement of the blood unit taken and Rs 3,500 without the replacement of blood units.

When The Tribune questioned the hospital authorities about it, they replied, “Other than the basic tests involved in the processing and testing of the blood units, we have also included advanced level tests for the refined testing of the blood units”.

Whereas, in the letter issued to the blood banks by the National Blood Transfusion Council, it has been clearly mentioned that charges for any specialised requirement/tests/procedures/ done by the blood banks must disclose to the recipient of blood, but nothing has been done in this regard.

Moreover, to avoid harassment of patients, the circular also listed the accurate costs of the blood examining tests. Time and again, NGOs working towards blood donation have pointed out these regularities, but no action has been taken so far.

Kanwaljit Singh, a patient at a blood bank, said it was completely unfair for them to pay extra than the prescribed norms of the government. Gopal Loomba, former president of Hindustan Welfare Blood Donors Club said they had submitted a PIL against it in the High Court so that laws could be framed against overcharging. 

He added that presently, there was no such law against it so that penalties could be issued to the offenders. 

Notably, around two-three hospitals are engaged in this practice of overcharging, whereas in some private blood banks, the rates are nominal or even lesser than the government rates. 

Meanwhile, Manpreet Chatwal, Additional Project Director, Punjab State AIDS Control Society, said, “The matter is sub judice and I can’t comment on this. The blood and blood products are being provided free of charge at NACO supported blood banks for patients under treatment in state government hospitals.” 

She also said the matter was also being pursued in the High Court. 

Moreover, instead of supplying blood units free of cost to the thalassemia patients, blood banks at private hospitals are also charging from them.

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