UoP study finds out burden of treating haemophilia on households
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Treating haemophilia results in a significant out-of-pocket expenditure for Indian households, a first of its kind study in the country, by University of Pune's School of Health Sciences has found. This study measured the out of pocket expenditure and found it to be a 'catastrophic' one in nearly 68 per cent of households.
With little data on the burden of out-of-pocket expenditure by households from low income countries, the study used 20 weeks of follow-up data of 24 patients' families from the city and found that irrespective of economic groups, treating haemophilia could result in catastrophic expenditure. Catastrophic expenditure would mean spending on haemophilia treatment in excess of 40 per cent of the household's capacity to pay , Dr Anita Kar, associate professor, Interdisciplinary School of Health Sciences, UoP told Newsline.
The study found that families spent 1.5-12 per cent of their monthly income on haemophilia treatment, using first aid to control bleeding, rather than replacement therapy with clotting factor concentrate.
The sample size may be small but the findings are significant, Kar said. Haemophilia is a genetic disorder that affects the blood's ability to clot.
While there is no cure, it can be treated with injections of clotting factor medication. However the injections cost between Rs 16-18 per unit and depending on the bleeding episodes, the cost can range up to Rs 3-4 lakh per year, Dr Dr K Ghosh, President of the Haemophilia Federation of India and Director of the National Institute of Immunohaemotology, KEM hospital, Mumbai told Newsline. The estimated monthly expenditure if all bleeding episodes occur over a year were to be treated would range from 21 to 314 times the monthly income of families.
Nearly 68 per cent of households would have experienced catastrophic expenditure, Kar said. Estimating this expenditure is methodologically challenging in developing countries due to lack of completeness of hospital records, as patients may not seek treatment due to affordability issues, Kar said.