Hepatitis C relief fund scheme: Short supply of medicine in Sangrur

The district hospitals have been facing a shortage of Ribavirin 200MG, a costly medicine, which is provided to the patients free of cost, under the scheme.

punjab Updated: Mar 30, 2018 14:00 IST
Avtar Singh
Avtar Singh
Hindustan Times, Sangrur
Hepatitis C,Hepatitis C relief fund scheme,Short supply of medicine
Hepatitis is a contagious infection of liver.(WebMD)

Despite Punjab becoming the first state in India to provide free treatment to confirmed cases of Hepatitis C, the officials of the Mukh Mantri Punjab Hepatitis C Relief Fund scheme have ‘failed’ to provide medicines to the new patients, along with some old patients, due to short supply across state.

Hepatitis is a contagious infection of liver. As per diagnostic count till March 10, the state has enrolled 42,127 cases of Hepatitis C under the relief fund scheme, which was launched on June 18, 2016.

Sangrur district tops the chart with 5,699 patients enrolled; other vulnerable districts include Tarn Taran with 3,684 patients, Muktsar with 3,586 patients, Moga with 3,283 patients and Bathinda with 2,959 patients.

The district hospitals have been facing a shortage of Ribavirin 200MG, a costly medicine, which is provided to the patients free of cost, under the scheme.

Though 5,699 patients have been detected under the scheme in Sangrur, the civil hospital here has received only 192 boxed of Ribavirin, worth Rs 1,05,068, this week. As per the available information, one box is provided to one patient, for a month’s medication.

Sources said that due to short supply of the medicine, only the previously enrolled patients are getting the medicine, with a ‘gap of one week’.

“The medication for a patient cannot be stopped for more than a week. If one is unable to continue the medication, the previously taken tablets also have no effect. The hospitals don’t want to stop the medication of old patients and are trying to provide them with the medicine by arranging it from other districts,” said a health department official, on condition of anonymity.

There are around 300 new patients in the district, but the health department is currently focusing only on the old patients. Civil hospital’s senior medial officer (SMO) Dr Kirpal Singh confirmed the short supply of medicines and said that he has written to the state government, demanding quick supply of the tablets.

“There is a shortage of Ribavirin, but we have informed the state authorities concerned. Currently, we are managing with the available stock and focusing on the older patients,” said Dr Singh.

“Due to large number of patients in the district, there is more demand of Ribavirin, but we will cover all patients soon,” the SMO added.

First Published: Mar 30, 2018 14:00 IST