Maharashtra government to take punitive action against blood banks for malpractices

Meanwhile, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday urged citizens to voluntarily come forward in large numbers to donate at their nearest blood banks. He pointed out that blood donation has decreased during the lockdown months
UPDATED ON DEC 05, 2020 12:22 AM IST
The development comes amid a shortage of blood in the state. Blood banks in Maharashtra currently have enough blood only to last for five to seven days.(HT FILE)

After receiving several complaints over malpractices by blood banks, such as charging exorbitant prices for blood and plasma, the Maharashtra government’s health department on Friday announced that it will take punitive action against such blood banks if they are found guilty.

The action will be taken by the director of the state blood transfusion council. In case of a repeated violation, the department of the food and drug administration will be informed to revoke the licence of such blood banks.

A press statement from the state government’s public health department on Friday read, “We have received complaints of malpractices by blood banks from various sources, on many occasions recently. The state has decided to take punitive action against such blood banks.”

The statement said if the processing fee charged is found to be more than the fee prescribed by the Blood Transfusion Council, the blood bank will be charged five times the actual processing fee and the patient will be refunded the excess amount, while the remaining penalty amount will be transferred to the Council’s account.

If the surged processing fee is charged for thalassemia, sickle cell, anaemia or haemophilia patients, the banks will be fined three times the processing fee.

If thalassemia patients are refused blood by the banks, an additional penalty of Rs1,000 will be levied on the blood banks. If the banks do not update the website daily on the availability of the daily stock of blood and plasma, they will be fined Rs1,000 per day.

Banks will be given a notice and an opportunity to present their case before punitive action is taken.

The development comes amid a shortage of blood in the state. Blood banks in Maharashtra currently have enough blood only to last for five to seven days. At present, there are 19,059 units of blood and 2,583 units of platelets across 344 blood banks in Maharashtra, and 3,239 units of blood and 611 units of platelets in 58 blood banks in Mumbai.

Chief minister (CM) Uddhav Thackeray on Friday urged citizens to voluntarily come forward in large numbers to donate at their nearest blood banks. The CM also urged political, religious, social organisations and housing societies to organise blood donation camps. He pointed out that blood donation has decreased during the lockdown months, as colleges are closed and work from home has affected organising such camps at workplaces and institutes across the state.

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