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Plea in Karnataka HC seeks regular supply of life-saving drug for Thalassemia patients

The petitioners said that thalassemia patients are suffering due to the non-availability of an essential drug called chelation
Last Updated : 23 September 2021, 23:20 IST

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The Karnataka High Court on Monday ordered notice to the state government in response to a PIL filed seeking directions to restore the regular supply of a life-saving drug for Thalassemia patients in the state.

A division bench, headed by Acting Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma, ordered notice on the PIL filed by Thalassemia and Sickle Cell Society of Bangalore and one Namitha A Kumar, a person having thalassemia.

The petitioners said that thalassemia patients are suffering due to the non-availability of an essential drug called chelation. Thalassemia is a disability caused due to a blood disorder and is covered under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016.

The petitioners stated that the patients require frequent blood transfusions and iron tends to accumulate in the bloodstream due to repeated transfusions. Chelation is an expensive drug that removes the excess iron from the body that is accumulated due to frequent transfusion.

The petitioner claimed that the drug used to be available for free in government hospitals. However, the supply of the drug has been stopped and authorities have not taken any steps in this regard, especially after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the petitioners said. According to the petition, there are about 17,000 thalassemia patients in the state and chelation costs anywhere between Rs 1,000-1,500 in the open market.

They sought directions to restore the regular and free supply of chelation drugs in government hospitals and to ensure that the patients are given adequate, free and timely blood transfusions. The petitioners said that although recognised as a disability, very few of the 17,000 thalassemia patients have been issued the necessary certificate of disability.

They also requested a direction to vaccinate all persons with disabilities including thalassemia patients above the age of 18 and their caregivers.

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Published 23 September 2021, 16:41 IST

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