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Indian Express
19 April 2010
By Hitarth Pandya
Vadodara, India

The society has been trying to convince the Health Department since 2007 to provide medicines at subsidised rates
IN YET another effort to make medicines available to haemophilia patients free of cost or at subsidised rates, the Gujarat State Hemophilia Society (GSHS) has decided to meet Health Minister Jay Narayan Vyas. AP , Tamil Nadu and UP provide such medicines to patients for free.

At a meeting of all GSHS district branches in Rajkot today, officials decided to raise issues related to haemophilia patients and how the government can help them.

GSHS, which is affiliated to the Hemophilia Federation of India, has been trying to convince the Health Department since 2007 to provide medicines to patients at subsidised rates and also give them the status of disabled.

GSHS officials said there are at least 5,500 haemophilia patients in Gujarat.

GSHS president M A Hussaini said: “On April 4, our counterparts in Surat met Vyas and explained to him why a patient would need the medicines at subsidised rates and also the disabled status. But he told us that haemophilia is a chronic disease and the government cannot provide free medicines to a patient throughout.” He added: “At the state level meeting, it was decided to meet the minister once again and explain to him why we have been demanding financial assistance from the government. We are hopeful that justice would be done to the patients.” Dinesh Vadhia, president of the Hemophilia Society, Vadodara, said that about one and a half years ago, a PIL was filed by the Hemophilia Federation of India following which the Supreme Court ordered that medicines should be provided at subsidised rates. “After the court order, Karnataka started providing medicines free of cost,” Vadhia said.

He said they have already made several correspondences with the state Health Department but the issue is still not considered to be serious.

“They fail to understand it is not possible for a poor or even lower middle class patient to spend Rs 3,600 to get the injection of anti-haemophilic factor every month. There are patients from poor families whose monthly income is less than this,” he said.

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