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Govt Urged to Cut Asthma Inhaler Price

On the World Asthma Day on Tuesday, pulmonologists here have called upon the State government to initiate steps to make steroid inhalers widely available at affordable prices for asthma patients to ease the burden of the people with the disease.

Published: 06th May 2014 08:08 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th May 2014 08:08 AM   |  A+A-

On the World Asthma Day on Tuesday, pulmonologists here have called upon the State government to initiate steps to make steroid inhalers widely available at affordable prices for asthma patients to ease the burden of the people with the disease. They have also suggested free distribution of inhalers to  the patients in all the government healthcare centres.

Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases, affecting over 300 millions worldwide. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that India has 15-20 million asthma patients with a prevalence of 10 and 15 per cent of the disease in 5-11 year-old children.

People with asthma have chronic inflammation of their lungs and airways in response to a variety of factors. However, now the role of genetic factors was being examined and researchers are also looking at how the immune system develops in early life.

Dr Kumaran, president of the Vellore unit of the Indian Medical Association, said the government should make the inhalers widely available at subsidised prices on the lines of initiative taken for drugs for diabetes. He felt that inhalers should be given free to patients in GHs as steroids taken through inhaler was the most effective and relatively safe medication for treating asthma.

Doctors D J Christopher and Balamukesh of the department of pulmonary medicine at the Christian Medical CollegeHospital, said asthma was mostly under-diagnosed, partly because the patients often neglect the early symptoms. Most of the practising physicians are also handicapped as the main tool to diagnose asthma, namely spirometry was not easily available. Even if asthma was diagnosed correctly, many patients did not receive right treatment. There was a common misconception that inhalers were addictive and harmful. This causes many physicians to end up treating asthma patients with tablets, which have side-effects, they

added.

World Asthma Day (WAD) is an annual event organised by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) to improve awareness and care about asthma around the world. The WAD 2014’s theme  is ‘You can control your asthma.’  . The CMC Hospital is organising a free asthma-screening camp for the general public on Tuesday.

More from Tamil Nadu.

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