CUTTACK: In a major boon for cancer patients of the State, the Acharya Harihar Regional Cancer Centre (AHRCC) is all set to provide chemotherapy drugs and services totally free to them from as early as this week.
Even as the State Government has included 73 types of cancer drugs in the Essential Drugs List (EDL), in the first phase, 22 chemotherapy drugs and consumables have been supplied to the hospital and will be provided to patients after required structuring of procedures and monitoring mechanisms.
“We will be starting the free chemotherapy drugs and services under Niramaya scheme within next couple of days. The move will benefit thousands of poor patients not only from nook and corner of Odisha but also neighbouring ones who have AHRCC as their sole refuge,” Director of AHRCC Prof Lalatendu Sarangi said.
The major drugs in the first list include highly expensive ones from Trastuzumab for breast cancer that cost more than Rs 50,000 per pack, erlotinib for lungs, pancreatic and other forms costing upwards of Rs 10,000 to Bortezomib for leukaemia that comes for more than Rs 10,000.
The 22 drugs in the list will cover a whole range of cancers particularly high incidence one like breast, cervix, ovarian, lungs, colon, leukaemia, head and neck, stomach and oral. Patients used to incur Rs 10,000 to Rs 12,000 per session and a major chunk of patients in the State is in no position to afford such high costs.
On an average, more than 100 patients undergo chemotherapy in the hospital everyday even as Odisha sees an addition of more than 60,000 new cancer cases per year. With the launch of the free drug scheme, the hospital will now see a big rise in patients as many of the private centres will also shift to it.
Poised for an upsurge inpatients, the hospital now has a vital task of putting in place checks and measures to ensure proper implementation of the scheme and prevent misuse. To prevent pilferages, the AHRCC would only provide free drugs to admitted indoor patients only.
While a patient would have to be admitted for the sessions, meticulous records would be maintained to ensure that the drugs are actually administered to him.
It has been made mandatory for staff nurses to enter all details including patient name, drugs administered and time of administration in their registers, which would be cross checked with indents everyday. The patients undergoing chemotherapy would also be monitored, sources said.
22 chemotherapy drugs and consumables have been supplied to the hospital
Trastuzumab for breast cancer, erlotinib for lungs, pancreatic, and Bortezomib for leukaemia have been included in free drugs list
Cancer patients used to incur Rs 10,000 to Rs 12,000 per session
More than 100 patients undergo chemotherapy in the hospital everyday