Booming businesses: Plasma donors and hospitals exploit pandemic

While spread of the novel Coronavirus has wrecked the economy of Pakistan, certain businesses are booming. Corona patients have strained an already weak healthcare system, however, private hospitals with their better services are taking good advantage of the situation. On the other hand, various media reports suggest an organized mafia in Punjab has been actively minting millions of rupees through sale of blood plasma.

Recently, a bill released by a patient of Agha Khan hospital went viral on social media. The bill shows an amount of Rs. 1.7 million, with a charge of 1800 gloves and PPE for one patient. A social media users notices that for staff to use 1800 PPEs, it needs to be checked 180 times a day with a new PPE, which means the patient is checked 7.5 times an hour.

At the time of admittance, the patient is supposed to deposit Rs. 1.2 million at Aga Khan hospital. Similarly, another private hospital in Karachi demands a down payment of Rs. 1 million for admittance.

While blood plasma has proven to be a relief for critically ill patients in the absence of a COVID-19 vaccine, elements with vested interests have also emerged to profit from recovered Coronavirus patients. A single bottle of blood plasma is reportedly being sold for Rs. 100,000 to 150,000 in Punjab.

Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) have already set up plasma collection centers for recovered COVID-19 patients, shutting the doors on blood plasma exploitation in these provinces.