While the price of a plasma kit was between Rs 6,000- Rs 8,000 earlier, they are now as high as Rs 15,000-Rs 20,000 for a single kit.
“There are plasma kits of various qualities and the rates differ from one hospital to another. Several hospitals are charging as high as Rs 15,000-20,000 because of an increase in the demand of such kits. Currently, there is a shortage as well, hence the high rates. In such a scenario, the government should get involved and decide on a price cap,” said Dr A Mohamed Hakkim, emergency physician and founder of a private initiative to donate plasma for COVID-19 patients.
Doctors said that the government should monitor trading of plasma as the prices are sometimes as high as Rs 50,000 for a couple of kits, and the demand is also increasing in rural areas of Tamil Nadu.
Officials at a government plasma bank pointed out that although many private blood banks and corporate hospitals have stopped processing plasma as it can be administered only on the physician’s recommendation and not for all coronavirus patients. “However, we have seen that patients are being charged a hefty amount for plasma kits even before hospitals are able to ascertain if it could be effective on the patient,” said an official.
“The government should encourage people to come forward and donate plasma as more than 4 lakh people have now recovered from COVID-19. If a price cap is brought into effect, the government can take effective steps to ensure it is implemented in the correct manner,” said Dr GR Ravindranath, secretary, Doctors’ Association for Social Equality.
Senior officials of the Health Department said that complaints on hiked plasma kits’ pricing can be raised with the Directorate of Medical Services, considering plasma therapy should only be performed as per the physician’s recommendation.