With a surge in dengue cases in the state capital, demand for blood platelet has increased by 10-fold, health experts said on Wednesday. A platelet unit, now, costs Rs 18,000 in private blood banks.
Dengue leads to various complications, including a drop in platelet count.
The experts said sudden shoot up in the cost has arisen due to absence of clear guidelines on platelet obtained through Single Donor Platelet (SDP).
Platelet units are either obtained through Random Donor Platelet (RDP) or through SDP.
According to experts, SDP is a more preferred as in this process a machine called Aphaeresis spins, separates the platelet and sends the remaining blood components back to the donor’s body.
This cycle is repeated 6 to 8 times and the process takes around 2-3 hours.
In RDP, the platelets are separated from blood units only donated by different donors.
One unit of platelets obtained through SDP is equivalent to 6 units of platelets obtained through RDP.
Dr UN Sharma, in-charge of Hamidia Blood Bank, said, “Rate of a SDP unit in government hospitals is Rs 9,000. In private blood banks, it costs around Rs 16,000 to Rs 18,000. A RDP unit in state-run hospitals is `200.”
Shrey Agarwal, a volunteer of Blood Saviour Group which helps to find donors for patients, said, “We have come across so many cases where patients were asked to pay Rs 18,000 and more for a single unit of platelet in private blood banks. Even for RDP units, a private hospital in Lalghati asked a patient to pay Rs 4,000.”
Dr Raja Maity of Bhopal Blood Bank said: “Guidelines for SDP are not clear... Hence, many private blood banks are overcharging looking at increased demand for platelet.”
KK Thassu, state blood transfusion council’s director, told HT: “ Till now, there is no regulation on SDP rates and rates are decided based on open market policy nationwide.”