Flooded with complaints about the city’s civic-run blood banks overcharging customers by amounts ranging from Rs 50 to Rs 500, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plans to inspect the state’s 306 blood banks. “This decision has been taken to ensure compliance with the norms established by the National Blood Transfusion Council (NBTC) on blood processing charges is strictly adhered to by these blood banks,” officials said.
In November 2014, FDA officials had found 72 of these banks to have discrepancies in processing charges. “Of the 72 blood banks,19 were from Mumbai alone,” said an official. As per the revised NBTC guidelines for government blood banks, the price of whole blood and packed red cells has been revised to Rs1,050 per unit from the earlier price of Rs 450 per unit.
The regulator is also now planning to issue self-audit checklists to blood banks in the state to ensure compliance with NBTC norms. The FDA has also signed an MoU with the State Blood Transfusion Council (SBTC) to train blood bank staff on aspects like bio-safety in blood banks, donor management and good lab practices (GLP). “We have formed a committee to look into issues of non-compliance by blood banks,” added official.
SBTC aims to provide adequate and safe blood and components at reasonable rates in the state. “The main objectives of the state council are to promote voluntary blood donation through education, ensure appropriate use of blood, develop nodal centres or district and subdivision blood centres and initiate human resource development programmes for safe blood,” said an SBTC official.