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Diabetics bitter over insulin price rise

mumbai Updated: Feb 02, 2010 01:35 IST
Neha Bhayana
Neha Bhayana
Hindustan Times
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Diabetes patient Sidhesh Navale (21) was having a tough time paying for the insulin shots he needs twice a day to keep his blood sugar level under control. Now that the national drug-pricing regulator has allowed firms to increase prices of insulin up to nine per cent, the college student is worried about how he will manage.

“My father is paralysed and my mother, a nurse, earns Rs 4,000 a month. Her boss helps us sometimes but it is difficult. I need at least Rs 1,200 per month for insulin and another Rs 800 for syringes and tests,” he said.

“The government should have thought about people like me,” he added. Navale is among 1.8 million Indians who need insulin every day.

Dr Anil Boraskar, a senior diabetologist at Fortis Raheja Hospital, said the price rise would burden patients. “Patients have told me they would prefer to die now,” he said. “Diabetes treatment is a big drain on the family. Patients spend on investigations, frequent hospital visits and at least Rs 800 to Rs 2,000 per month on insulin. The disease is not even covered by insurance companies,” he said.

He said the government should subsidise insulin instead of allowing drug makers to increase prices. “The government should realise that diabetes is a serious threat, especially in India,” he said.