Free treatment for rare diseases: State demands central fund
Kochi: The state government has stated in the high court that central fund is essential for providing free treatment for children affected with rare genetic diseases. About Rs 200 crore will be required for offering free medical aid for all children who have such diseases and this amounts to 48 percent of the total fund allocated by the state for free medicine, the state said in the affidavit filed at the court.
According to the affidavit, if the state bears this expense on its own, it may affect the regular free medicine supply in government hospitals. The government filed this appeal against the court order based on the petition filed by M Manoj demanding free enzyme replacement for his son who is affected with Lysosomal Storage Disorders (LSDs). The court also considered with this case a Public Interest Litigation demanding free treatment for all children affected with similar diseases.
The court had asked the government how much amount they spent for this purpose. In the affidavit submitted by the state, it has been said that free treatment will not be practical without central fund. At present, no central aid is available for genetic diseases.
The state budget had allocated Rs 410 crore in 2018-19 and Rs 360 crore in 2019-20 for free medicine supplied through government hospitals. About Rs 1 crore is required for the treatment of one child affected with Lysosomal Storage Disorders. The medicine for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) costs Rs 14 crore.
The Director of Health Services informed that Rs 588.99 crore worth medicines for cancer and other chronic diseases is required in the year 2020-21, the government stated in the affidavit.