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Shortage of clotting factors at Haemophilia Treatment Centre

Haemophilia patients resort to panic buying

Mohammed Rasil, 21, from Muvattupuzha has been at the Haemophilia Treatment Centre (HTC) at Aluva for the past two weeks. His mother Subi says lack of blood clotting factors has confined her son to bed. It is surprising that clotting factor 8 is unavailable even at the State centre at Aluva.

On Tuesday, Rasil was given cryo precipitate, a by-product of blood plasma, from the blood bank as the factor was not available. It gives some relief but is not really effective in case of severe pain, says Ms. Subi.

She has to visit Karunya Pharmacy at Ernakulam, Perumbavur, or Angamaly every day to buy factors as pharmacies provide only the recommended dosage for a day. Since factors were not available at pharmacies on Tuesday, cryo was prescribed.

Rasil is an inpatient at the HTC, and his medicines have to be procured every day after getting approval from Kerala Medical Services Corporation Limited (KMSCL), which is responsible for all drug purchases by the government and distribution under various schemes through Karunya pharmacies. Rasil’s requirement of 2,000 units a day was cut down, and he was given only 1,000 units a day for nearly a week.

Anil Kumar Nair, 52, from Thrissur is another patient at the HTC. His surgery for kidney stone removal is being delayed thanks to unavailability of clotting factor 8. He has been at HTC for the past one week.

Similarly, Jehangir, 22, from Thiruvananthapuram, has been at the HTC for a month now. His daily requirement is 2,000 units of clotting factor 8. Though his mother Sheeja visits the pharmacy daily, she gets less dosage.

Mujeeb M., 42, from Malappuram, reached HTC on Tuesday. “Reaching here, I realised that even at the State centre, medicines are not available,” he says.

According to KMSCL general manager Dr. Dileepkumar, as many as 4,000 units of factor 8 are required a month at the HTC, and there is a stock of 2,878 units now to see through the month. “Stock for the next month will arrive soon. There is no panic situation. All the factor units required are approved immediately,” he says. Still, patients resort panic buying. “We are not providing factors for stocking at home,” says Dr. Dileepkumar.

While haemophilia is not covered under the Karunya Aarogya Suraksha Programme, funds have to come from the Karunya Benevolent Fund.

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