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Times of India
07 May 2010
By Pratibha Masand
Mumbai, India

City’s asthma patients, who find it difficult to buy the expensive inhaler drugs, can now breathe easy. The BMC has decided to include controller and rescue medications for asthma in the list of scheduled drugs, which will be stored by all municipal hospitals. This means from May–end,asthma patients who go to municipal hospitals for treatment, will get a month’s stock of certain medications for free, but only after thorough counselling.

“Asthma medications are costly and many patients from the lower economic strata could not afford them. As asthma is a disease that should not be taken lightly, we proposed that these drugs be included in schedule drugs, which means that all municipal hospitals must stock them,’’ said Dr Amita Athavale, head of chest medicine, KEM Hospital.

The department of chest medicine and Environmental Pollution Research Centre at KEM conducted a programme on Wednesday, a day after the ‘World Asthma Day’, to lay emphasis on how asthma has become a serious problem. Last week, TOI had reported that around 3,200 Mumbaikars died because of respiratory tract infections in 2008. Doctors believe that most people suffering from respiratory infections are asthmatic. “What people do not realise that slight breathlessness, which goes away after sometime, may someday be a cause of death,’’ said Athavale.

Dr Shubhangi Parkar, head of psychiatry at KEM, said the disease becomes more pronounced if the patient is distressed or does not have family support.

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