Unavailability of medication at govt hospital leaves thalassemia patients struggling for survival in Ludhiana
Patients allege unavailability of life-saving drugs, say monthly treatment costs Rs 40,000-Rs 50,000Updated: Jul 16, 2020 17:43 IST
Government hospitals in Ludhiana have run out of essential drugs required by thalassemia patients amid the Covid-19 crisis, which has increased the financial burden on patients’ families.
Struggling because of the unavailability of medicines, many patients have written letters to civil surgeon Dr Rajesh Bagga, urging the official to re-stock the life saving drugs at the government hospital.
In their plea to the civil surgeon, the patients highlighted the exorbitant cost of treatment. On an average, a thalassemia patient spends around Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000 on medicines and treatment per month. The availability of the life-saving drug at government hospitals goes a long way in relieving the patients’ financial burden.
As many as 300 thalassemia patients are enrolled with the health department. Due to the unavailability of the medicines, families are losing out on their savings, even as patients steadily lose hope of survival.
Patients said essential drugs such as Asunra, Desferal and Rocaltrol have been unavailable since the coronavirus outbreak.
‘CAN NO LONGER AFFORD TO TAKE THE COMPLETE COURSE’
One of the patients wrote, “I have been a thalassemia patient for around 25 years. I am undergoing treatment for the same at a charitable hospital. I need five vials of Desferal daily. As the medicines are very costly, I have not been able to afford to complete the daily course due to which my health is being compromised. I am dependent on my father, a shop keeper. It is difficult for him to spend approximately Rs 50,000 a month on my treatment and medicines. I hope some measure will be taken to provide these medicines as soon as possible.”
The parent of a thalassemia patient, who did not wish to be named, said, “A minimum Rs 50,000 to Rs 60,000 is spent each month on treatment. Amid the pandemic, it is not possible to arrange so much money each month. To top it all these lifesaving drugs are not available at government hospitals.”
A 30-year-old patient wrote, “I would like to draw your attention towards the non-availability of medicines such as Desferal, Rocaltrol and Defrijet. As I am a thalassemia patient, I need four vials of Desferal daily. My father has passed away and mother is a pensioner. It is very difficult for her to spend approximately Rs 55,000 each month on my treatment and medicines. I hope that some measure will be taken to provide these medicines as soon as possible.”
Dr Bagga said blood transfusion officer at the civil hospital Dr Gurinderdeep Singh Grewa was dealing with the issue.
Dr Grewal admitted that there was an initial hiccup in the availability of medicines. “But for the last one week medicines have been available,” he said.
‘HEALTH DEPT TAKING US FOR A RIDE’
However, the patients’ kin say patients registered with the department have not been informed of the availability of medicines.
“The health department is taking us for a ride. If the medicine had been available instead of sitting in the civil surgeon’s office, we would be visiting the dispensary at ESI hospital to collect the medicine,” said an exasperated parent.