LAHORE: Lahore High Court Chief Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan on Tuesday sought a detailed report from the Punjab Blood Transfusion Authority (PBTA) about steps taken to stop sale of plasma of the patients recovered from coronavirus.
The chief justice was hearing a petition against the government’s failure to check the plasma sale while Specialised Healthcare Secretary Nabeel Awan, officials of the healthcare commission and PBTA were present in the court.
The CJ observed that incidents of plasma sale were being reported on a daily basis, but the government functionaries apparently turned a deaf ear to the situation.
He pointed out that plasma was being sold for Rs500,000 to Rs600,000 and the government was unable to stop the illegal practice.
He regretted that the government had a system in place but no action had been taken against the illegal sale of plasma.
Chief Justice Khan also noted that private hospitals were charging exorbitant charges from coronavirus patients.
The officials of the healthcare commission said up to Rs250,000 were being charged from the Covid-19 patients admitted to the intensive care units (ICUs), while common patients at private hospitals were being charged less.
They said action had also been taken against four private hospitals in Lahore and Rawalpindi for overcharging.
The CJ adjourned hearing till July 25 and asked the government to ensure that plasma was only donated.
Advocate Arshad Virk had filed the petition in public interest, pleading that patients recovered from Covid-19 were openly selling their plasma in violation of laws. He said there were apprehensions of international mafia’s involvement in this dirty game.
The petitioner asked the court to issue a direction to the government to immediately stop illegal sale of plasma and take action against those involved in the scam.
Published in Dawn, June 24th, 2020