The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) has decided to make plasma bags available at an affordable rate of Rs 400 per bag. The state government had earlier recommended that government hospitals charge up to Rs 7,000 per plasma bag sought by private hospitals to treat their Covid-19 patients.
The rate was laid down by the civic standing committee, which turned down a proposal from the PCMC administration to increase the rate to at least Rs 8,000 per bag.
The PCMC has set up a plasma bank at YCM Hospital.
“The committee has been of the view that we should keep plasma bags at an affordable rate… therefore, we are charging Rs 400 per bag for outside patients,” said Municipal Commissioner Sharavan Hardikar. “The state government has not made it mandatory but has said that we can charge up to Rs 7,000 per bag of convalscent plasma,” he added.
While, the PCMC administration said it will not provide any remuneration to plasma donors, the Youth Congress unit in Pimpri-Chinchwad has decided to pay Rs 1,000 to every donor.
Dr Rajendra Wable, dean of YCM Hospital and Medical College, said, “For collecting 400 ml plasma from a donor, we have to incur an expenditure of at least Rs 10,000-12,000. This mainly includes purchasing plasma bags that cost nearly Rs 8,500. Then we have to initiate a process wherein we collect the plasma by separating white blood cells, red blood cells and platelet, and then again put them back…”.
The YCMH administration had urged PCMC to charge at least Rs 8,000 for outsiders who want plasma. “However, our proposal has not been approved,” he said, adding that plasma is given free of cost to patients of YCMH.
The PCMC chief said his administration has now moved a proposal for purchasing 500 plasma bags. “We are awaiting the standing committee nod for this,” he said.
Dr Aniket Lathi, who is part of the team which collects and administers plasma to Covid-19 patients, said, “If plasma therapy is given to early-stage Covid-19 patients , the chances of success are very high. If it is given at a later stage, esecially when the patient is on ventilator, the chances of the therapy succeeding is less. If a patient’s organs are damaged, then the success of the therapy can’t be guaranteed. We have seen that plasma therapy success is up to 80-90 per cent if it’s given early…”.
BJP’s Pimpri-Chinchwad unit president Mahesh Landge said the party was in favour of paying a remuneration for donors as it would encourage more donors to come forward. “I will take up the issue with the civic administration,” he said.
Patients at private hospitals, meanwhile, are paying a huge sum for plasma bags. “My father was given plasma therapy at a private hospital. The private hospital bought one plasma bag for Rs 10,000 while we purchased another bag from YCMH hospital for only Rs 400,” said the daughter of a patient.
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