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Monday, June 14, 2021

Mucormycosis treatment brought under govt schemes, free medicines for patients: Maha govt to HC

The Court asked the state government to consider a request to cover the entire treatment for the infection, which would cost nearly Rs 8 to 10 lakh, under the MJPJAY scheme which covers people from below poverty line and those above poverty line having orange ration cards

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
Updated: May 24, 2021 2:31:45 pm
Black Fungus, DelhiDoctors treat a black fungus infected patient in a hospital. (Photo: PTI)

The Maharashtra government on Monday told Aurangabad bench of Bombay High Court that mucormycosis or Black fungus infection is now covered under Mahatma Jotiba Phule Jan Aarogya Yojana (MJPJAY) and Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (PMJAY) for eligible underprivileged beneficiaries and that 130 hospitals across the state have been identified for treating the infection.

The state government also said that 1,000 more hospitals are to be empanelled and 19 medical and surgical packages have been identified for treatment of mucormycosis under MJPJAY.

A division bench of Justice Ravindra V Ghuge and Justice Bhalchandra U Debadwar was hearing suo motu PIL based on media reports, to address issues of funeral rites of Covid-19 patients, shortage of medical oxygen supply and black marketing of Remdesivir among others.
During the last hearing on May 21, the HC had asked the state government to ensure proper distribution of Amphotericin B injections and other medicines required to treat Black Fungus disease. The Court had also asked the state to consider a request to cover the entire treatment for Black Fungus, which would cost nearly Rs 8 to 10 lakh, under the MJPJAY. The scheme covers people from below poverty line and those above poverty line having orange ration cards.

On Monday, Chief Public Prosecutor D R Kale for the state government said that the Government Resolution (GR) issued on May 18 had considered grievances of the underprivileged and that the treatment will be covered under the scheme. He said that medicines for treating such ailments will be made available through district civil surgeons.

Referring to a report filed by regional manager of State Health Insurance Society, Kale said that there would be a capping on expenses for mucormycosis treatment so that private hospitals would not overcharge.

The state government further said that antifungal medicines required for treatment of the ailment will be free to patients admitted in pre-identified hospitals and district civil surgeon and state health assurance society shall reimburse cost of antifungal medicines.
Kale added that daily use or consumption of required medicines by the hospitals while treating mucormycosis patients will be monitored through MJPJAY web portal.

“It is thus apparent that the state has come out with a specific policy of treating mucormycosis patients free of costs. Notwithstanding the same, private hospitals would be restrained from raising astronomical bills and cost of treatment would be monitored,” HC noted.
The bench further directed the state government to ‘accord wide publicity to the decision so that poorest of the poor, the illiterate and semi-literate and persons living in remote and tribal areas’ would be aware of such facilities.

“This would prevent unscrupulous elements (hospitals) from fleecing poor people by overcharging for the treatment of mucormycosis. Needless to say, the list of hospitals identified for such treatment and through which the medicines would be made available should also be given wide publicity so that patients do not land in the wrong hospital for availing treatment,” HC noted in its order.

“The hospitals treating mucormycosis patients would display instructions for the public at large at prominent places and would make information regarding availability of beds on the portal of said hospital,” the bench added.

Moreover, the Court directed the state government lawyer to take instructions and address the issue about the availability of medicines or injections.

HC will hear PIL next on May 25.

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